Cibc Minivers U-^ of Chicago
&bingbon &eltgiou Ctwcation Eexts
WEEK-DAY SCHOOL -
GEOr.G2 HRR3ERT BETTS, Editor
-, . 300"
EMERY LEWIS HOWE
With Class Room Adaptations by
JEAN GERTRUDE HUTTON
ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
THE ABINGDON PRESS
NEW YORK CINCINNATI
Copyright, 1927, by
EMERY LEWIS HOWE
All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian
Printed in the United States of America
The Bible text used in this volume is taken from the American Standard
Edition of the Revised Bible, copyright, 1901, by Thomas Nelson & Sons,
and is used by permission.
TO MY DAUGHTER MARGARET
PART I. BACK-YARD NEIGHBORS
I. BUSY PLOWMEN 17
II. ANT WORKERS 25
III. ANT WORKERS 33
IV. SPIDER WEAVERS 41
V. SPIDERS AND THEIR NESTS 52
VI. THE HONEY BEE 59
VII. BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS 70
PART II. FEATHERED FRIENDS
VIII. HUNTING BIRDS WITH EYES AND CAMERA. 81
IX. BIRD GUARDIANS 93
X. LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS 103
PART III. GARDEN LIFE
XI. How PLANTS GROW 115
XII. A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER 125
XIII. ROOTS OF MANY FORMS 134
XIV. PLANTS AND THEIR STEMS 141
XV. GREEN LEAF FACTORIES 149
XVI. A FIELD DAISY AND ITS FAMILY 157
XVII. BEES AND FLOWERS . 164
XVIII. FRIENDLY TREES 173
XIX. FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS 183
XX. SEED HOMES 194
XXI. How SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES ......... 203
XXII. OUR DAILY BREAD 214
6 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
PART IV. FOUR-FOOTED COMRADES
XXIII. DOG COMPANIONS 227
XXIV. A FAITHFUL SERVANT 237
XXV. WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 246
XXVI. WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 256
XXVII. SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS 263
PART V. THE EARTH AND ITS NEIGHBORS
XXVIII. SKYLAND AND CLOUDLAND 275
XXIX. NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY 283
XXX. A STORY OF THE ROCKS 293
XXXI. WATER AND ICE 302
XXXII. COUNTING UP: A REVIEW 311
GARDEN SPIDER'S WEB . 42
GARDEN SPIDER 43
HOUSE SPIDER 45
TRAPDOOR SPIDER'S BURROW 48
THE WONDERFUL HONEY FACTORY 60
POLLEN BASKET 61
BEE WORKER (Enlarged) 61
WORKER CELLS . . . . 62
CROSS SECTION OF COMB ; . . . 63
QUEEN (Enlarged) 64
DRONE (Enlarged) 65
TONGUE (Enlarged) 70
CABBAGE BUTTERFLY 71
MILKWEED CATERPILLAR 73
BUTTERFLY CATERPILLAR 74
THE SWALLOWTAIL 75
THE MILKWEED BUTTERFLY THE MONARCH.. 75
ROBIN , 88
THE JOY OF MAKING BIRD HOUSES no
THE BUTTERCUP 117
PARTS OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOM 127
BEES VISITING A FLOWER 131
HORSE CHESTNUT LEAF '. . 153
GRASS BLADE 154
GRAPE LEAF : 155
$ OUR WONDERFUL WORLt)
How MANY FIRES ARE STARTED 189
SECTION OF TREE IN YOSEMITE PARK 191
ACORN SEED 203
PALESTINE ANEMONE, POPPY SEED JUMPER 204
SEEDS How THEY TRAVEL AND WHY .'.".. . . . 205
WINGED MAPLE SEED, WINGED ELM SEED. . . . 206
COCONUT SEED 207
BUR TRAMP SEED, BUR BRACT 209
BOY SCOUT TROOP No. i 210
WHEAT THE KING OF CEREALS . \ 216
REAPING THE GOLDEN GRAIN '. . 220
MESSENGERS OF MERCY 229
WONDERFUL JUMPING MARE "VIOLETTA" 241
THE AMERICAN BEAVER 249
THE FLOCK GOING TO PASTURE 269
THE EIGHT PLOMETS COMPARED IN SIZE ...... 288
HALF DOME, YOSEMITE VALLEY 304
TO THE BOYS AND GlRLS WHO READ THIS BOOK,
THESE pages have been written for your pleasure
and to help you know and enjoy the world about
you. You may think of this book, if you wish,
as a passport that allows you to travel and come
to know many new friends. Most boys and girls
love to go on journeys; they feel that far too little
opportunity for travel is theirs. They read of
marvels in many lands, and wish to go "these won-
ders to behold." Here is one way in which you
may travel in new lands that lie near at hand;
Here you may discover things as wonderful as in
places far away.
If you object, and say that one cannot travel
far on foot, or find interesting wonders near at
home, let me remind you of what one of our own
great men once said. He wrote that one could
find in his own dooryard, no matter where this
might be, as great marvels as can be seen any-
where, if only he had the eyes to see them! It is
quite certain that many travelers in lands far off
do not have seeing eyes, and come home from long
journeys with little gain. Which would you choose
to be, a person staying near home with a seeing
eye, or one going a long distance with blind eyes?
I said at the beginning that you might think of
this book as a passport. You know travelers in
foreign countries need a paper called a passport
to gain entrance into the lands of other peoples.
These pages will show the. way to enter into some
io OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
territories that are strange to you. I hope they
will help you to find out just how to conduct your-
self so that you will be pleasing to the inhabitants
whom you are visiting. Perhaps they will help
you to know and understand them all a little better.
There is another way in which you may think
of this book. You may call it, if you please, a letter
of introduction. If you are going to a new place,
some friend may give you a letter to introduce
you to someone who lives there. The letter does
not tell you about the person; it just introduces
you; it starts the acquaintance for you. You must
do the rest of the getting acquainted yourself.
You must learn for yourself what the stranger
likes, how he lives, what things he has to teach
you or show you, and what work he does.
This book will introduce you to some creatures
whom you may ' know slightly, but most of the
getting really acquainted with them is left to you.
This will be the best part of what the book does
Sometimes the stories will give the facts for you
to see with your own eyes, and to think through
by yourself. Sometimes you will see the wonders
of God's world through the eyes of a boy and a
girl who live in America, Don and Ruth Harris.
Don and Ruth are just like you, wide awake, think-
ing, interested, asking questions, and trying to
find out all sorts of new things. You will, I hope,
like to find out things with them.
As you use the book, do not be like the travelers
of whom I spoke: do not shut your eyes; do not
shut even one eye! Do not feel sure you have found
out all there is to know when you have looked
very sharply with your two real eyes at anything
whatever! Put your mind's eyes at work, and
keep them busy! Ask questions when you need to
ask them. Most of all, think, and then think,
and then THINK again! Try to see how one story
fits into another. Try to see how one fact in God's
world fits, not into one other fact, but into all
other facts. You may not see just how this is at
first, but the more you think and the more you
find out, the more you will be sure that this is true.
For an illustration: Perhaps you ate a fine ripe
peach for lunch to-day. After you have read the
seeds story, you will think that the peach came to
you partly because it did its seed up in such an
attractive package, and you may suppose that you
have learned all this book has to tell you of the
peach. Let me set you a question or two!
How did the earthworms help the peach you ate?
Do you think it possible that the birds had any-
thing to do with your peach?
Could beavers, dogs, or horses, have helped grow
What did the skyland helpers do for it? How
many of them may have helped?
Did ants, or bees, or butterflies, have any share
in the work?
Suggest a way in which an old glacier may have
Too many questions, do you say? No, no! It
is questions that make study interesting. It is
by searching for the answers to questions that you
learn new facts of interest and use. So set your-
self to work; enjoy your book; but, better, enjoy
the wonders of your own back yard; get acquainted
12 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
with the birds and the insects about you. Lea
of the animal friends that live near you. Look
to the skies, and get to know the stars by nan
Seek in the common materials around you for we
der stories; and you will find them on every hai
You will indeed "speak to the earth, and it sh
teach you," for you will find that "in all th<
the hand of the Lord hath wrought."
THE author is indebted to numerous nature students
and writers, and desires to express his thanks to them,
but especially to the following authors and publishers
for their courtesy and kindness in giving permission for
use of and reference to material copyrighted by them.
To Anna Botsford Comstock, Cornell University, for
use of material in her valuable Handbook of Nature
To Doubleday, Page & Company, publishers, New
York, for reference JLO Bob, Son of Battle, by Alfred
To E. P. Button & Company, publishers, New York,
for facts about Red Cross Dogs, from Bruce, and to Albert
Payson Terhune, author of Bruce.
To Harper Brothers, New York, for reference to story
of Little Gray Friar Bobby, by Eleanor Atkinson.
To Houghton, Mifflin Company, Boston, for reference
to Longfellow's "The Birds of Killingworth."
To Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, publishers
of the copyright works of Jean Henri Fabre, for facts
about the spider's telegraph line from ''Insect Adventures."
To F. E. Compton & Company, Chicago, for per-
mission to draw material and scientific facts from Comp-
ton' s Pictured Encyclopedia.
To the National Geographic Society, Washington,
D. C., for permission to quote portions of paragraphs
regarding the intense heat of the sun, and the distance
from the earth to Sirius from article "Interviewing the
Stars," by Dr. William Joseph Showalter, . in National
Geographic Magazine, January, 1925.
To D. Appleton & Company, New York, for use of
certain facts and material in The Formation of Vegetable
Mould Through the Action of Worms, by Charles Darwin.
14 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
To the United States Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D. C., for pamphlet on Forestry. To the
American Nature Association, Washington, D. C., for
permission to use material from Nature Magazine.
The author is also greatly indebted for the loan of
several original photographs in Nature Magazine, and he
wishes to give credit to the artists of these photographs
and certain other sketches. E. L. H.
BACK- YARD NEIGHBORS
WHAT a fine morning after last night's shower!
The grass is fresh and green. The flowers are decked
with sparkling dewdrops. Bees are humming.
Birds are busy. The rain-washed earth has a de-
lightful smell. It is just the time to make a friendly
call and become better acquainted with some of
our good neighbors.
Do you say it is too early to visit Mrs. Brown?
You are sure that Mrs. Smith is too busy to be
interrupted just now?
You quite misunderstand me. I am not plan-
ning to go with you to see friends who live in houses
like yours or mine, or to call on neighbors who
talk as you and I talk.
The neighbors I am thinking of live in a very
simple way, generally quite out of our sight. They
do their work with no thought of what it means
to us. But they are following the laws of the
heavenly Father, who made .them, as he made all
things. In countless numbers, and for countless
years, these helpers have been carrying out their
part in God's great plan, though we seldom stop
to think how much of our comfort and pleasure
we owe to these busy workers who toil in the way
the Creator has set for them.
I see you 'do not know what I am talking about.
Come with me along the garden path, and we may
i& OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
chance upon one of these busy plowmen; we will
stop and get acquainted with him.
Ah, here is one! Let me introduce Plowman
Earthworm, a tireless worker. What? you thought
it only a horrid, wriggling worm? You supposed
it good for nothing but fish bait? Had the earth-
worm not done his task well, I suspect you would
have had no breakfast. It is due to his work very
largely that you could enjoy that juicy lettuce,
those fine strawberries, the nice cereal and the
rich yellow milk, or, for that matter, any of the
vegetable food you ever ate! Did you really think
that an earthworm had filled the purpose for which
it was put into the world when it had helped you
catch a fish dinner? No, indeed!
But you need not feel too much disturbed that
you have not known sooner the very important
work of Plowman Earthworm. The wisest men
living did not know much about these plowmen a
few years ago. Then Charles Darwin, a great
English scholar, began a very exact and pains-
taking study of these small creatures. Mr. Darwin
measured off plots of ground, and counted the
earthworms he found in each; he counted the bur-
rows he found; he counted the leaves the worms
carried down; he weighed the earth thrown up by
them. In these ways he learned many most inter-
esting things about these busy helpers who work
out of sight and so quietly that we seldom think
of them, except when we wish to go fishing!
You probably know' that many animals are im-
portant soil builders. What would your answer be
if I were to ask you to name the most important
of them all? I am sure you would speak of a half
BUSY PLOWMEN 19
dozen before you would think of putting Plowman
Earthworm at the head of the class. But that is
just what Mr. Darwin answered! He concluded
that the earthworm does a vast deal of soil building,
of soil draining, of opening soil to the air, and of
making passages through which the tender roots
of growing plants can easily find their way, and
where they can get their food. Besides this, the
worms chew up bits of leaves and blades of grass,
and take them to the burrows under the surface.
All of this lightens the soil, and makes it more
porous. The worm breaks up the soil exactly as
does the farmer's plow, only much more perfectly
Perhaps some one has told you that the plow
was one of the first tools invented by man. You
certainly know that it has been one of the most
valuable tools he has ever had. At first the plow
was probably nothing but a crooked stick, or a
forked branch; and you have all seen the pictures
of the fine steel plows and tractors that the farmer
of to-day uses. Sometimes one or two horses will
draw the plow. Often, on large farms or ranches,
four horses will be used. Many farmers to-day have
put aside the horse-drawn plow for one that is
driven by gasoline.
Are you thinking of these great plows, and won-
dering how a soft creature like an earthworm can
force itself through the hard soil and turn it up to
the air and the sun? It surely must be very difficult.
Indeed, it would be impossible if the worm tried
to force itself through, but this is not the way it
takes it eats its way through. Instead of rolling
up little pellets of eartji and taking them to the
20 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
surface, as do many of the insects, the earthworm
swallows the earth. Then, in a gizzard much like
the one you have seen taken from the Thanks-
giving turkey, only very, very much smaller, the
earth is ground up fine. Out of the ground-up
mass the earthworm takes the decayed vegetable
matter for its food. The rest of the earth is cast
out in the form of little mounds or pellets. You
can find these almost any morning, in the grass,
or along the garden path.
Of course you are ready to say that the amount
of soil building that can be done by a few earth-
worms is so small that it is hardly worth counting.
I suspect that the worms themselves, if they had
minds and could think, and if they could once
see how very big the earth is, especially when
measured by earthworm measures, would grow
quite discouraged, and be ready to say, "It never,
never can be done!"
But you are overlooking one fact, and that is
the number of earthworms that are all the time
plowing, plowing, plowing. You remember Mr.
Darwin counted the earthworms he found in meas-
ured pieces of ground. In this way he was able
to make a pretty good guess as to how many worms
might be found in any section. How many do you
suppose he figured lived in an acre of ground?
Five hundred? A thousand? Perhaps as many as
five thousand? All wrong! He figured that there
are more than fifty thousand in an acre of ordinary
ground, and perhaps in rich land there may be a
half million to an acre.
More than this, earthworms seem to be found
in most parts of the world. They are at work all
BUSY PLOWMEN 21
the time. Our farmers can plow only when there
is little or no snow, and when the ground has just
the right amount of moisture. Not so Plowmen
Earthworms! When it is warm and moist* they
stay near the surface. Let the weather turn cold
and damp, and do you suppose they take a rest?
No, indeed! They simply eat down deeper, where
the wet and chill cannot reach them, and keep on
You can see that a half million creatures, even
as soft and weak as earthworms, can accomplish
a great deal of work on an acre of ground, if they
are always at it. Recall that Mr. Darwin weighed
the earthworm castings he gathered up on meas-
ured parts of the land, and you will see how he
could figure the amount of soil the worms would
deposit in a year. You will not dare guess this
time, so I will tell you that he estimated that as
much as ten tons might be cast out in a single year.
That is so much that you can hardly imagine it.
Perhaps you can figure how many boys or girls
as heavy as you are would be required to weigh
ten tons, and you will have an idea of the weight
of earth the worms throw out.
You must remember that the castings from the
worms are soil ground up very fine, and this makes
the best fertilizer. When some parts of the
earth have as much as a fifth of an inch of this
deposited over it in a year, do you not think it is
worth a great deal? Do you think there is any
truth, then, in the old notion that more worms
are found in rich soil than in poor soil?
Did you ever find in an old pasture a stone that
was nearly buried? How do you suppose it came
22 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
to be so nearly hidden? I often saw such stones
when I was a child, and wondered if they had sunk
deep into the ground just because they were so
heavy. But when I turned them over, I found
they did not weigh so much as I had thought. It
was a long time before I found out that the busy
Plowmen Earthworms had been burying the stone!
First, as you can see, they worked under the stone.
As they hollowed out little tunnels, and opened up
the soil, the stone would sink a bit deeper. Then
the worms would deposit their castings around the
stone, and so build up the earth about it. When
this had gone on for a number of years, the stone
began to sink out of sight.
As you will learn in a later lesson, all soil is made
from rock that has been broken into bits. This
takes many long years, and many workers have a
part in the process. Wind and water, frost and
sun, all help. There are other helpers, too, and,
of course, you will not be surprised to find the
earthworms are among them. How can they work
on rocks? Part of the rock-breaking comes through
the action of acids that are made when vegetable
matter decays. When the earthworms open and
loosen the soil, they make the passage for these
acids easier, and give channels that let them trickle
down to the rocks. In this way the worms really
aid in breaking up rocks on which their soft bodies
could have no effect.
If you look very closely at the body of one of
these little plowmen, you will find no eyes at all;
of what use would eyes be to a creature that spends
most of its life under the surface of the earth, in
the dark? Eyes would be very troublesome, in
BUSY PLOWMEN 23
fact. Nor will you find any true brain, though
there is a small nervous system, a central nerve
spot, with a chain of smaller nerve spots extending
through the body. Feet, which you would suppose
very useful to a plowman of any sort, are also
wanting. Instead, the earthworm has four double
rows of spines set into the rings of which the body
is made. These help the worm in moving, and are
used to cling to the burrow for safety when you
are trying to pull out of the earth a worm for your
bait can, or when a hungry robin is looking for his
Can you think of any creature in all God's won-
derful world that does a bigger or more important
work with as few and as simple tools as belong to
the earthworm? Only a worm, working blindly in
the dark, without noise, without confusion, per-
sistently and patiently burrowing its way through
the darkness and the damp I It is a simple, quiet,
and an unseen part that our little plowmen play.
Humble as it is, it is a part of God's great plan
for the good of all his creatures. All plant and
animal life is benefited by the work of the worms;
and man, with all his intelligence and skill, would
find it hard, if not entirely impossible, to accom-
plish the task which is so well done by these
When you next look at an earthworm and when
you remember how this small and seemingly unim-
portant creature has been chosen to do so vast
and important a bit of work, perhaps you will
think of God's choice of the weak things to put
to shame the things that are strong. And maybe
after thinking about all this we shall all be a little
24 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
slow to think of anything in God's creation as little
or weak or of no account.
Fill a small box with soil, and place three or more
earthworms on top of this. Cover the box with a lid.
When the worms have burrowed beneath the soil, scatter
a little grass, and a few leaves, both dry and fresh, on
the surface. Observe from day to day, and record in
your notebook what the worms do. Sprinkle the earth
to keep it from getting too dry. Care for the material
for five or six weeks, and note if vegetable mold is formed.
Something to do:
1. Draw a picture of an earthworm.
2. Learn a little more of the earthworm's story. You
will find it in the encyclopaedia, a nature book, or the
Book of Knowledge.
3. Write or tell the story of "The Earthworm's Help."
4. Find, if you can, places where earthworms are at
work, and examine the worms. Do you find their bur-
rows or tunnels in the soil?
To learn: i Corinthians i. 27; or Zechariah 4. loa.
God chose the foolish things of the world, that he
might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose
the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame
the things that are strong; and the base things of the
world, and the things that are despised, did God choose.
z Corinthians i. 27, 28.
"MOTHER, mother," called Ruth, in great excite-
ment, "here is a line of ants running across the
"And then going up the wall," added Don.
"Dear me! we can't allow that," said mother,
coming to look. . "They must have found some-
thing they like to eat. Let us follow the line and
see where they are going."
"Along the wall to the door, then into Ruth's
room and see! up on your table and into your
candy box, Ruth!" cried Don, as he traced the
line of busy ants.
"The horrid things!" exclaimed Ruth, peeping
into the candy box, where a bevy of little black
ants were swarming over the bonbons. "How did
they ever find my candy, and how did they get
into the box?"
"You did not put the lid on well," said mother,
"and as ants send out scouts to look for food, they
very soon found such a treasure as your candy.
You know how careful I am to keep the sugar,
syrup, and other sweet things in the pantry in
tightly covered containers."
"I wish they had let my candy alone," said Ruth,
busily removing the intruders, "but I must say
I think they were clever to find it."
"Mother," asked Don, "why have these ants no
26 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
wings? I am sure that those I looked at the other
day in the yard had wings."
"Those were father and mother ants," replied
mother. "These are worker ants. At certain
seasons of the year the father and mother ants
come out of the nests in great numbers, and fly
away together. When the mother ant comes back
she begins to dig her burrow, or nest, in the ground.
Here she will live all the rest of her life; never again
will she need her wings. As they are very much
in the way in digging, she does a strange but sensi-
ble thing she bites them off!"
"Ugh! doesn't it hurt?" asked Ruth.
"Probably not," replied mother.
"Did these worker ants bite their wings off too?"
"No," said mother, "they never had wings.
They have always been workers, and you may
think of them as soldiers, nurses, milkmaid's, under-
takers, diggers and engineers, or grocers, according
to what they do."
"Oh, mother, is it a fairy tale you are telling?"
"It sounds like a regular city," laughed Don.
"It is not a fairy tale, and it is much like a city,"
replied mother. "Ants are called social insects
because they live in companies, and the wonderful
way in which they divide the work of the colony
and carry on their affairs has made some people
almost sure that they think and reason."
"Do tell us about it," urged Don. "I would like
to hear about the soldier ants."
"I'd rather hear about the nurses and the milk-
maids," said Ruth. .
ANT WORKERS 27
"There is time to tell you part of the story,"
smiled mother. "First, you must understand there
are nearly as many things to be done in an ant
town as there are in a man town, and the ants go
about it all with much order and what seems like
very good sense. There are soldiers who guard
the colony; perhaps you might think of them as
somewhat like our police. There are those who
go out to hunt for and bring back the food; I was
thinking of them when I spoke of grocer ants a
minute ago. Of course they do not sell the food,
but they surely supply it. Then other ants dig
the tunnels and lay out the runways, or burrows,
and sometimes these are very elaborate, so we may
indeed think of the ants who do this work as engi-
neers. Dead ants are taken out of the burrow by
other workers and are buried; so you may think
of the ant colony as having undertakers."
"And the milkmaid ants, mother?" reminded
"That does sound like a fairy tale, but it is not,"
assured mother. . "Ants really keep a little creature
that they use much as man uses cows. If you will
bring the magnifying glass from the. library table,
Don, perhaps we can see a 'cow' on the rosebush
;, Mother selected a leaf or two from the bush, and
Don, looking at them through the glass, exclaimed:
"Why, there is one of those little plant lice that
makes your rosebush all sticky."
"Is that the ants' cow?" asked Ruth, peering in
her turn through the glass.
"Yes," said mother, "that is what you may con-
sider it. Some people call these wee creatures plant
28 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
lice. Others speak of them as the green fly. The
true name is aphides. There are many kinds of
aphides, just as there are many races of people
Russians, Indians, English, or French. Your glass
is perhaps not strong enough to allow you to see
clearly the mouth of the aphis, but if you will
look at the enlarged drawing of one that you can
find in the encyclopaedia, you will see that it is
just the right shape for piercing the leaves and
sucking the sap. That same drawing shows two
little spikes at the end of the body. Some wise
men say when the ant wishes to 'milk' a 'cow' it
strokes with its feelers these little spikes and the
sides of the aphis. Then drops of a sweet sticky
substance ooze out. Other wise men say the aphis
manufactures the milk within its own body, and
secretes it as the bee does the honey, and the ant
simply gathers it up."
"Oh, mother," said Ruth, "I wish I could see
an ant milk her cow!"
"It is an interesting performance to watch,"
agreed mother; "and if you are patient, you may
see which is correct. The ants take the best care of
these little cows. They feed them well. Some
people say that the aphides tell their caretakers
when they are hungry by patting them. Some-
times the ants build a little shed of a sort to pro-
tect the cows. They handle them gently, and take
them to feed on the sort of food the aphides like
"This rose leaf is all sticky," announced Don,
who had been running his fingers back and forth
over the leaf while mother talked. "What makes
ANT WORKERS 29
"It is the honey-dew from the aphides," replied
mother. "Of course it hurts the leaves to have
the sap sucked from them by the hungry little
aphides, but almost as much harm is done by the
honey-dew, for it clogs the pores of the leaves.
The dust settles in it too, till, after a time, the
poor leaves cannot breathe at all, and the bush
may sicken, or even die."
"Do aphides live on any bushes besides the
roses?" asked Don.
"Indeed they do!" replied mother. "If it were
only the roses they live on, perhaps it would not
be so bad, though we should miss our lovely blooms.
But each kind of aphis has its favorite food. Some
of them will thrive nowhere but on a cabbage plant.
Others prefer to settle down, on beans. Some may
choose a grain or a fruit or lettuce, but all of them
act in the same way. One sort, the kind that
settles only on corn roots, does so much harm that,
if nothing were done about it, you soon would have
no corn muffins for breakfast!"
"Oh!" cried Don. "I shouldn't like that at all,
mother. Do tell me what can be done, and I'll help."
For answer, mother searched for a minute among
the leaves of the rosebush and then came back to
open her hand slowly before the eyes of the children.
On the palm lay a little bug with a red back prettily
marked in black.
"A lady-bug!" cried Ruth.
"But what can a lady-bug have to do with ants
and their troublesome cows?" demanded Don.
"That is just what a great many men asked a
great many times," replied mother, "and the
answer at first was always, 'Nothing!' But some
30 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
men were not sure this was the right answer, and
they carried on very careful experiments with ants
and aphides and lady-bugs, and by and by they
learned the whole story."
"Do tell us, mother," urged Don.
"These men," answered mother, "found that the
ladyrbugs lay their eggs on the plants where the
aphides live. Why? Because lady-bug eggs change
or hatch, not into lady-bugs, but into little larvae
whose favorite food is aphides. As soon as they
hatch they begin to eat aphides, and when they have
eaten all they possibly can hold they change into
what are called pupce. After a little, they change
again, and then they are lady-bugs."
"How many aphides can a lady-bug eat?" asked
"It is supposed that a good, healthy lady-bug
with a growing appetite will eat about forty aphides
in a day and keep it up for four or five weeks. But
this is not all. The mother lady-bug may lay as
many as fifty eggs every day. These eggs will
hatch into larvae, or hungry little grubs, in any-
where from three to six days. You do not need to
take 'your paper and pencil to find out that they
make way with enough aphides to really count!"
"Hurrah for the lady-bug!" cried Don. "I
always thought her a cunning, clean little creature,
but I did not know she is such a useful one! I will
be more careful than ever not to hurt one after this!"
"You may well be," answered mother, "for she
is far more useful than I have had time to tell you.
Owners of California fruit orchards and orange
groves, growers of cabbage, lettuce, peas, corn,
grain, and fruit of many kinds, all depend on the
ANT WORKERS 31
busy little lady-bug to fight the aphides for them
and to give their crops a chance to grow."
"Where do the little aphides come from in the
first place?" queried Ruth.
"They hatch in the spring from eggs laid in the
fall on the chosen food plant. Then these aphides
produce more aphides like themselves in about two
weeks, and these aphides in turn produce others.
This keeps up all summer, when the late aphides
lay eggs that can pass the winter without the food
that would be needed for creatures like themselves."
"And where do the ants come in?" asked Don,
"The ants are on the lookout for these eggs, and
take them to their nests. They know that their
future supply of honey-dew depends on the number
of eggs they find, and the care they give them, so
they tend the eggs carefully, and when the aphides
hatch they feed them and watch over them much
as grandfather looks after his herd of fine cows."
"And the more ants there are, the more cows
they need," said Don.
"Exactly!" replied mother. "Ants produce a vast
number of eggs daily, which soon grow into ants.
The colony needs more arid more food as it grows
in numbers, and honey-dew is a favorite food. So
it is no wonder ants take great care of their cows,
and give them every chance to grow well and to
increase in numbers."
"I think the ants are very wise and clever,"
said Ruth, "but I do not think they are very good
neighbors. They are not like the earthworms;
they do not help at all. They do not do as much
as the spider. Aren't they any good at all, mother?"
32 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Remember, my dear," replied mother, "that
they were created by our heavenly Father, and that
'in wisdom he has made them all/ Perhaps you
have not found out all that is to be learned of the
ants. If you knew all about them, you might wish
to change your opinion of them. In God's great
plan for his wonderful world, every little creature
as well as every big one has a part to play, a work
to do. Suppose you and Don try to find out before
our next story time what service these little neigh-
bors have to perform."
Something to do:
Make a study of the ants and their ways. One
method is this :
1. Find an ant hill, and drive a spade into one side of it,
lifting it and thus turning over the dirt of which the hill
is made. With a large spoon lift a quantity of the earth
of the hill, together with the eggs, babies, queens, and
workers, into a wide-mouthed jar.
2. Place a brick or a flat stone in the middle of a large
pan of water. On this put a slate or a flat board. Pour
the contents of the jar on the slate or board, and smooth
it down. Cover with a sheet of glass of the same size
as the board, putting a thin board over the glass to shut
out the light, as ants prefer to work in the dark.
3. Place some particles of food on the board. If the
ants are left overnight, a reconstructed nest will prob-
ably be found in the morning, and it will be possible to
observe the colony at work. Make sure that the pan
is large enough, and the water deep enough, to prevent
the escape of the ants.
To learn: Proverbs 30. 24-28.
For in him were all things created, in the heavens
and upon the earth. Colossians i. 16.
"I HAVE found out one good thing the ants do,"
began Don, eagerly, as soon as he had placed the
cushions in the big swing for mother. "They stir
up the earth, loosen it and make it fine, something
like the earthworms."
"Father helped me find another service," added
Ruth at once. "He read from one of his big books
about Sir John Lubbock, who learned eVer so many
things about ants. One day when he was watch-
ing a nest he counted twenty-eight dead insects
brought in in just one minute. Father says that
disposing of these dead bugs is a real service."
"What do they do with the insects?" asked Don.
"Eat them for meat, just as we eat the game our
hunters bring in," said Ruth, very promptly.
"Why, the Bible is just right, then," cried Don.
"What was our verse? Let me see! Yes, I have it!
'Go to the ant, thou sluggard;
Consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no chief,
Overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her bread in the summer,
And gathereth her food in the harvest.'
I am not sure about the harvest, though," he
added, a bit doubtfully.
34 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Father told me about that too," said Ruth.
"Some ants do really harvest. They gather the
grain they like, and strip off the covering, so that
there is sometimes quite a little pile of shucks on
the outside of their nest. And some ants are real
farmers. They take care of a kind of wild grain
'ant-rice,' some persons call it. They clear away
the grass around a small clump of the 'rice' and
make little paths to their nests. Then, when the
grain is ripe, they carry the good kernels to their
burrows and store it away for food."
"I should think it would sprout and grow if they
stored it under the ground," said Don.
"Father didn't say anything about that," said
"People puzzled over that point for a long time,"
said mother, "and then a student who watched
very carefully discovered just what the ants did.
Of course the grain sprouted, and when the ants
found this going on, they bit off the little shoots."
"Just as grandfather sprouts the potatoes in the
spring!" cried Don. "Aren't they the wise little
"Now guess how they keep the grain from rotting
under the ground," said mother.
"I am sure they find some way," said Ruth,
trying hard to think what this might be.
"They could dry it," suggested Don, slowly.
"That is exactly what they do!" said mother.
"When the grain begins to get too damp they carry
it out and spread it in the sunshine until it is quite
"I know!" cried Don. "Just like their eggs.
You should have seen them come tumbling up out
ANT WORKERS 35
of their nest by the tree when I watered the lawn
last evening. Every last ant of them was carry-
ing an egg."
"I suspect those were not eggs that you saw,"
said mother. "The eggs are very small, and what
the ants were carrying up were no doubt the
"I don't quite understand what larvae are,
mother," said Ruth. "Are they just eggs?"
"Not quite," answered mother. "You remember
we spoke of the eggs hatching into larvae when we
were talking of the aphides yesterday. Many
insects go through several changes in their lives,
and among such insects are the ants. The ant
lays eggs. These change into larvae, which are a
kind of legless, and almost helpless, worm. The
larva is always hungry; its chief business seems to
be to eat all it can get, and it does this with a will.
Of course it grows. After it can eat no more, it
changes into a cocoon, an oval silk-covered cocoon,
from which the ant will come out after a time.
It was either the larvae or these cocoons that Don
saw the ants carrying up out of the way of
what no doubt seemed to them a very terrible
"Were they nurse ants that were carrying up
the cocoons, do you suppose?" asked Don.
"I am sure all the nurse ants were helping,"
answered mother, "though other ants too may have
been assisting in such a catastrophe. But the
eggs, the larvae, and the cocoons are the special
care of the nurse ants. They move the eggs from
place to place to keep them always at the right
warmth. They feed the larvae, who cannot feed
36 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
themselves. Some people think they even coax
them to spin their silk cocoons, by gentle strokings
and pattings. At any rate, it is known that they
watch over the cocoons, and when the little ant
is ready to come from the case, the nurses help it,
wash it, unfold its wings or legs, and assist it to
get started. They take care of it till it is quite
strong enough to be a nurse ant itself."
"And does the nurse ant always stay a nurse
ant?" asked Ruth.
"No," answered mother. "After a time their
skin hardens into a shiny armor, and then they
are worker ants. They may go out foraging for
food. Perhaps they find a crumb, a bit of honey,
or a great treasure like your box of candy. They
carry home as big a burden as they can and tell
the other workers about their find. Then the
procession begins to move, with the results that we
found yesterday when we caught them helping
themselves to your candy!"
"They go a long way to find food, I think," com-
mented Don. "For a tiny thing like an ant to come
all the way to Ruth's candy box is like your going
to the city for a loaf of bread."
"Yes," agreed mother, "it is a very long distance
for a little creature. But there are ants in western
Africa that travel very much greater distances, and
in much greater numbers, for food. They are
sometimes called the army ants, or the driver ants,
and they come in millions and millions!"
"Oh dear!" gasped Ruth. "Whatever do the
"Sometimes they curl up on beds or chairs, and
sometimes they just move out. But rats and cock-
ANT WORKERS 37
roaches and other things of that sort do not hesitate
at all. They move out as soon as they realize the
ants are coming. Missionaries and other persons
who have seen the ants make an attack say that
they come in lines of four or six abreast, going
ahead with almost the regularity of an army. Here
and there they send scouts out to one side or the
other. N They find a place to enter the house, and
it looks as if they left guards to take care of the
entrance. The ants that go into the house run here
and there into every spot, and when they leave
they have cleaned every single corner of spiders,
larvae, and insects of all sorts. If they encounter
one that is too large for a single ant to overcome,
others come to help, and not an insect can escape.
People report that it is a curious sight to see this
great army of ants returning, each laden with booty,
along a path which they have worn quite smooth
by the tramping of their tiny feet."
"How long do they stay?" queried Ruth.
"Possibly only one night, possibly a little longer
in some cases. When they have gone the rightful
owner comes back to his house, knowing very well
that every nook and crevice will be cleaned of the
last trace of vermin that hides in walls or under
Ruth shook her head doubtfully. "That sounds
as if those ants were worth a great deal, but I'd
rather have Sarah do our house-cleaning," she said.
"Mother," asked Don, "do ants really talk?
You have spoken two or three times about their
telling one another about supplies."
"Even the wisest men do not know all about the
ant." answered mother, "but some very interesting
38 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
studies have been made, and it seems quite certain
that ants can communicate with one another very
readily. No one has ever suggested that they speak,
as you and I understand speaking. But look sharply
at these little fellows under the glass, and tell me .
what you see growing out of the head part of the
"Two slender things, feelers, I suppose you'd call
them," answered Don.
"That name will do very well," smiled mother.
"Those feelers are jointed, and are made up of
parts called segments. It has been proved pretty
thoroughly by experiments that the sense of touch
in one of these segments is very keen. In another
segment, the sense of smell is very sharp, and
it is supposed that an ant who goes a long way
from home for food does not see her way home;
she does not even feel her way home, but she smells
back over the track she made in going out. Now,
if you watch these two ants, one going to the nest,
with a grain of sugar he has picked up on the floor,
and the other coming from the nest, what do you
"Why," cried Don, in great excitement, "what
are they doing? Are they fighting? They are
both throwing their feelers up and touching each
other. Now one is going on and the other
Mother! do you suppose the first one told him
about where he found the sugar, and that there is
more there? He is going right to the same spot!"
"Perhaps he did," replied mother. "At any rate,
your question as to how ants tell each other about
their affairs is answered; they talk with their
ANT WORKERS 39
"I think ants are the most interesting neighbors!"
"The most wonderful thing they do is to divide
up the work so well, I think," said Don.
"No," said Ruth, with a positive shake of her
head. "The most wonderful thing is that every
ant does his own share of the work without fussing
about it. You need not smile at me, Don Harris,"
she added with a blush. "I'll weed my share of
the garden after this! Who is going to let an ant
"Not my daughter, I am sure," said mother.
"If you and Don learn a lesson of industry and fair
division of work from the ants, don't you think
we will have to say they are of some use, after all?"
"Yes indeed, mother," cried Ruth, heartily.
"And if we forget," added Don, "all you need
to say is, 'Go to the ant, consider her ways and be
wise,' and then we'll remember."
Something to do:
1. Look up in an encyclopaedia pictures of ant eggs,
larvae,* cocoons, male, female, and worker ants. Make
enlarged drawings of each in your notebooks, and place
a small mark by the side of each drawing to indicate
the actual size. For example, if the actual size is one
quarter of an inch, and you make your drawing three
quarters of an inch in height, the line one quarter of an
inch, by the side of this drawing, will show that you have
enlarged it three times.
2. List the helpful parts of the ants' work. Is the ant
a good neighbor? Why do you think so?
3. What is the most wonderful or the most interest-
ing lesson you have learned about the ant?
4. What lessons have you learned from the ant?
46 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
To learn: Proverbs 6. 6-8.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard;
Consider her ways, and be wise;
Which having no chief,
Overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her bread in the summer,
And gathereth her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6. 6-8.
IN our first lesson we made the acquaintance of
a back-yard neighbor that we often forget; and we
learned how much we owe to these busy but quiet
workers, the plowmen earthworms. Next we visited
those industrious little creatures, whom we some-
times call a nuisance, and we found that even the
ants have their part to play in God's wonderful
To-day we are to go to another group of back-
yard neighbors who are not quite so numerous as
either of the others that we have been thinking of;
and perhaps this is a very good thing, as they ply
a trade of a very different sort. They are weavers,
and are always looking for good places in which to
hang their work. If there were as many of them
as there are of ants and earthworms, I do not know
what would happen!
Each member of this rather large family is the
owner and sole operator of one of the most won-
derful silk factories in 'the world. You may find
the products of these factories in many places about
your back yard. Perhaps a bit hangs from a bush
or a vine; another piece of their weaving may be
fastened to the rafters of the porch or the garage.
You may discover one of the weavers has been in
your attic, or in the cellar. Perhaps one has pre-
ferred to spread her silken blanket on the grass.
You will find it gleaming with dew drops, and you
42 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
are almost ready to declare that Titania, the queen
of the fairies, has spread her best lace bed-covering
out to bleach; for surely these dainty silvery threads
were never intended for any but a fairy's use.
We shall see!
What, you are shaking your heads, and saying
that there are no such factories in your back yard?
You are sure you have no neighbors who are silk
GARDEN SPIDER'S WEB
G Guy lines S Spokes or radii
F Foundation lines
Sp Spiral lines
weavers? Come with me, and keep your eyes
Oh, here is a filmy scarf, caught in the ends of
the rosebushes! It is a bit of weaving done by the
Lady Miranda Spider. You say it is nothing but
a cobweb, and that it was made by a horrid spider?
It is true that mother calls the spider a nuisance
when it spins its web in the corner of the room,
and mother is quite right in sweeping away the
spider's work. Lady Miranda need not come into
our houses to find a good factory site. But .we need
not be afraid of "her, or of her bite. If we study her
ways, we may learn that she is a better creature
than we had thought her to be. At any rate, we
shall find that she possesses a most remarkable skill.
Look in the corner back of the web; there is the
Lady Miranda herself, hiding, and waiting for what
may happen. Note how she differs from the ant;
the spider is not an insect, for she has eight legs,
and these are fastened to the head part of the body.
She has no wings. The abdomen is not cut or
divided. My naturalist
friend tells me the spider's
heart has eight lobes, and
that most spiders have eight
eyes, though you will not
be surprised to find that
spiders living in caves are
But you are eager to see
the spider's silk factory.
Where do you suppose it is
and where do you think
the spider finds her material for weaving? From
no other place than her own body! She herself is
her own silk factory, and within her body she
makes the stuff from which she spins her dainty
webs. The actual weaving is done by two or three
pairs of spinning organs called spinnerets.
It would take a whole book, and perhaps several
books, to tell you all the wonders of these spin-
44 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
nerets. We would need, too, a very fine microscope
to help our eyes in seeing just how they are made
and just how they work. If you look up the sub-
ject in an encyclopaedia, you will find no end of
wonderful and interesting facts a'bout them, but
you will like to hear now some of the marvelous
things people have learned about these silk fac-
Men and women who have studied the spider
very carefully tell us that each spinneret looks
like a tiny sieve, each having several hundred holes
in it. What a fairylike sieve it must be you can
guess when I tell you that the head of a common
pin will cover hundreds of the holes.
When the spider begins to spin, a gummy stuff
comes from the holes. This is fluid when it comes
out, but it hardens almost as soon as it gets into
the air and the sun. Find out if the spider ever
runs her factory on a rainy day, and see if you can
tell the reason why.
A spider begins her work by rubbing her legs
together until the gummy substance begins to come
from the spinnerets. Any or all of the holes may
send out a tiny stream, depending upon the sort
of silk the spider wishes to make. If you take a
bit of silk thread from your mother's work basket,
and examine it closely, you will see that it is made
up of many fine strands, all twisted together, to
make one larger thread. The number of strands
that are used will determine the strength and thick-
ness of the finished thread.
The spider follows the same plan. If she wishes
to make a fine thread, she will use the substance
from a few of the holes. If she wishes a very strong
and heavy line, she will use the material from all
of the holes, and she will use it just as the fine
strands in the silk thread were used. She will
twist them all together to make a strong thread.
She may also twist the threads from each spinneret
with those coming from the other spinnerets. You
can see, then, that the finished thread may be
made up of many hundreds of very fine strands.
Even then it is finer than one of the hairs of your
head. But how strong it is! How far it will stretch
before it breaks! You will find it interesting to
measure a thread, as it hangs from rafter or bush,
and then see to what length you can stretch it
before it breaks. Perhaps you can attach a tiny
.paper to one end, and fill the paper, bit by bit,
with sand, till the weight makes the thread break.
Then, by getting your
druggist friend or your
teacher at school to weigh
the sand for you, you can
find what the strength of
the spider's cord is.
If you would like to know
how a spider begins her web,
imprison one by putting
her on an upright stick
fastened to a float in a dish
of water. Can the spider
swim away? How will she
escape? Watch, and you may see her spin a thread,
then she will wait for a soft breeze to blow her,
clinging to the end of her silken cable, to some spot
to which she can fasten the thread firmly.
If we had seen Madam Spider begin her work,
46 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
in our bush, we would have noted that she selected
a strong support, probably a branch near the top
of the place where her finished web is. Tnen, in
the way just described, she swung a long line to
a second support, and fastened it securely. Then
she ran back on this line to the middle of the cable,
made another fastening, and swung off her second
cable. This was done a number of times, till several
threads, all coming from a common:, center, were
well secured at the ends to good supports.
Next the spider started from the center and wove
around and around a loose spiral, fastening it to
each spoke. This made a sort of platform from
which she was to weave the web itself.
As soon as the spiral reached the point on the.
spokes where the edge of the web was to be, Madam
Spider began to go back weaving a new kind of
thread, not smooth and shining like the first one,
but sticky; and these threads were placed much
closer together than the first ones. When these
were all finished she built herself a secret nest, and
stretched from the very center of the web to this
nest a strong thread, a sort of a fairy telephone
line. No words will ever be spoken over this line,
though messages of one kind will travel across it,
you may be sure. For Madam Spider, having
completed her work, retreats to her secret chamber,
and sits there, holding an end of the telephone line
in her hand.
To be more exact, the spider hangs from her
nest, with one foot on the connecting thread, wait-
ing for a message, which she no doubt is eager to
receive. With such a dainty web, and with such
a delicate line, you might be excused for supposing
SPIDER WEAVERS 47
it is a fairy message that is expected. But, of
course, you know this is not the case. The web
is a cruel trap for an unwary fly or other insect.
The instant one brushes his gauzy wing against
the sticky threads, the quiver on the telephone
line tells the hiding spider just what has happened.
She knows exactly what to do. She lets the line
loosen. The whole web sags a bit, and the poor
insect, trying to escape, is still more tangled in
the threads. Then the spider tightens the web
once more, and this makes matters yet worse for
the fly. I saw this shaking of the web many a
time when I was a child, though it was long before
I found out the reason for it.
Presently, when the victim is well bound, Madam
Spider walks out to inspect her prisoner, though
she keeps at a distance till she is certain it is safe
to come nearer. Then she may bind her captive
still closer; perhaps she will strike her poisoned
fangs into the body. When the creature is quite
dead, the spider will cut away the binding threads,
and then she may suck the juices from the body.
If she is not hungry, or if she does not care for the
kind of a dinner she has caught, she may leave
this hanging in the web till she has tried her luck
You can see now why the spider must spin such
strong threads. If insects could easily break them
and so escape, the spider would go hungry many
You can find such a web as we have just de-
scribed, as it is of the commonest sort. There are
many shapes and forms, as each kind of spider
spins a special kind of web. You can learn to tell
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
what kind of spider lives in your yard or attic,
though you may never see the creature herself,
just by knowing the form of web each spins.
Sometimes the webs are very irregular. Some-
times they are dome-shaped. Some are shaped
like a funnel. One spider weaves a curious web
that looks like the liquid part of a bird's dropping,
while the spider itself resem-
bles the more solid part. An
unsuspicious insect passing by
this web finds itself suddenly
entangled and then stabbed
by the fangs of this clever
Note where the spider
walks in the web. Why
should this be so? Perhaps
you will need to put a spider
under a magnifying glass to
answer this question. You
will soon decide that such
curious legs are much better
for hanging by than for walk-
ing. The claws on the feet
make it very easy for spiders
to hold to the web from the
under side. Did you ever
before realize that you have neighbors who hang
head downward from their homes, when they are at
If you search along some dry path, or in your
garden, you may find the curious home of the trap-
door spider, so named from the sort of home it
makes. .First it digs out a deep hole in the earth,
SPIDER WEAVERS 49
carrying away the dirt bit by bit. Next, threads
are spun across the opening in all directions. Over
these the spider places bits of moss, leaves, and
dirt. Then come more threads, and more dirt,
till a thick strong door is built. One by one the
supporting threads are cut away, till only enough
for a hinge remains.
Now Madam Spider is quite ready for business.
If she is alarmed, she retreats to her tunnel, hold-
ing to the walls with some of her feet, and to the
door with others. It is said that the door is so
firm, and that the little owner can hold it so tightly
shut, that it may be torn apart before it can be
But if she is looking for a meal, she leaves the
door open a bit, and is ready to pounce on any
unlucky insect that wanders by!
A European student of spiders once tried to find
out if spiders think. He found trap door spiders
had built their nests in a certain sort of soil, and
had used bits of moss to hide the doors, making
them look so much like the gr,ound about them
that only the sharpest eyes could find the nests.
The man took away all the soil around the nest
of one spider, and replaced it with earth of quite
a different color. Then he broke off the door of
the spider's house, and waited to see what she
would do. Would she use the earth around her
home to build the new door? No, she went off a
long distance to get building material such as she
had used at the first. Of course this made a door
that showed very plainly. If this spider did not
think as you and I think she at least was guided
by a remarkable instinct.
50 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
These are but a few of the plans of the heavenly
Father by which these neighbors of ours live. The
more you study them, the more interesting facts
you will learn about them, and the more you will
wonder at the remarkable way in which each little
creature has been supplied by God with that kind
of body, and with those organs that enable it to
fit exactly into that part of his plan in which the
Father has placed it. You will come to love and
respect all life, in whatever form you may find it,
as one way in which God shows us his love and
his tender and all-wise care. Over and over again
you will think: "This is a piece of God's handi-
work. How wonderful it is! How marvelously
'Who can utter the mighty acts of Jehovah?
Or can show forth all his praise?' "
Is it not good to visit our weaver neighbor if she
helps us to think of these things?
Something to do:
1. Look for a spider's web, and make a careful draw-
ing of it in your book. Try to learn the name of the
spider that made it, and write its name under the web.
2. Watch a spider in her web. Is it true that she
always hangs from it, and never walks on it?
3. Write in your notebook the different kinds of webs
you have found.
4. Look for an interesting story about Robert Bruce
and a spider. What did the spider teach him?
5. A man" fleeing from his enemies was once saved by
a spider. Who was the man? How did the spider save
SPIDER WEAVERS 51
6. Decorate a card made from colored cover paper
with a picture or drawing of a spider and its web, and
write the memory verse on it.
James i. 43.: Let patience have its perfect work; or
Ecclesiastes 7. 8b: The patient in spirit is better than
the proud in spirit.
O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works !
In wisdom hast thou made them all:
The earth is full of thy riches.
Psalm 104. 24.
SPIDERS AND THEIR NESTS
WE have found that spiders use their skill in
weaving, and have their wonderful silk factories,
to earn their living, just as do men, though not
in the same way. But the spider makes another
use of her silk. Can you think what this is?
Of course! The spider, like all others of God's
creatures, is obedient to the laws which God has
planted in her being. One of these laws, and a
very important one it is, is the desire to care for
the eggs from which shall develop the young spiders
of the next generation. You will be quite satis-
fied, then, to learn that spiders use their skill in
weaving to make strong and often very beautiful
cases in which to stow safely the eggs that are to
hatch into young spiderlings.
Just as spiders spin webs of many kinds, they
spin egg cases of different shapes and designs.
The blind cave spiders make a thin mesh of the
threads that only holds the eggs together, without
hiding them at all. Some spiders lay all their eggs
at one time, and will make a single egg sac to hold
them. Other spiders lay a few eggs at a time,
and these make a series of egg sacs, and fasten
them one to another, something like a string of
If you look in the attic or in the cellar for the
egg sac of the common house spider, do not think
to find anything lovely in form or arrangement.
SPIDERS AND THEIR NESTS 53
Its egg case is a mass of fluffy silk that hides the
eggs, but that looks very untidy.
A spider that lives in the grass will hide her
eggs under the loose bark of a dead tree. Some
spiders add a covering of mud to a little pear-
shaped case. Bits of stick or of moss cover other
cases. One spider makes a nice felt bedspread from
her own body to keep the babies warm.
Another spider weaves in threads of a different
kind, lines the inside of the nest in the softest
manner possible, makes a wee pocket, and tucks
into this a tiny ball of yellow beads the eggs.
If you find hanging in the web of a garden spider
a tiny case that looks like a wee Grecian vase, you
may know that it is the egg case, not of the garden
spider herself, but of another and smaller spider
that often lives in or near the nest of her big
Still another egg case is shaped like a lens. One
spider lays her eggs in a leaf, and binds the edges
of the leaf together. Then she takes no chances
of the leaf's blowing away, but fastens it to the
branch with her silken threads. Perhaps you may
find one of these nests if you look sharply for it.
Certain spiders do not trust their precious eggs
to any chance whatever, but carry the sac about
with them wherever they go, under the abdomen.
One such spider waits till the eggs are nearly ready
to hatch out, then she puts them all on the leaves
of some convenient branch, wraps the leaves to-
gether with her weaving, and stays near at hand
to guard the green and silver home. Have you
ever found a nest of this sort?
Another spider that carries her egg sac about
54 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
with her puts all her babies on her back when they
hatch out, and off they go for a ride, like little
opossums. When I was a small child I did not
know this trick of the spider, and I was greatly
surprised one day to see many little spiders tumble
from their mother's back and scurry off to the
grass when a man stopped the parent as she was
crossing a country road.
You would suppose that all spiders, having taken
so much pains to weave safe and lovely nests lor
their eggs, would see to it that the babies had the
best of care. But many spiders do not live to bring
up their families. They have used up all their
silk, and have none left for traps or to bind their
prey. Many of them die when the cold days come,
and it is old Mother Nature that must care for the
babies. Shall we say that? Shall we not rather
think that the heavenly Father, who . has made
all things, has a thought for these little creatures
too? It is he who has taught the mother spider
to weave so strong a nest that it will hold fast till
the warm spring suns crack open the case. Then
out come the spiderlings in a great hurry to explore
the big world. They know exactly what to do.
They climb a stick or a stone, or a dry grass blade,
and begin yes, you are right! they begin to spin,
not a web for the first attempt, but a strong thread.
The spring breeze comes along to help by blowing
away the thread, and you may be sure the young
spider does not let go of it. She hangs on for dear
life, and takes her first ride! Thus the circle of
spider life has been completed, and a new one
Perhaps you are wondering if spiders are of any
SPIDERS AND THEIR NESTS 55
use. This is not an easy question to answer, as
we do not know enough about spiders to be sure.
They no doubt do help to keep down the flies that
are so troublesome, though no one has ever studied
the question very carefully. The Bible tells us
that God saw everything he had made and that
it was all good. We have countless things about
his plans yet to learn. Some day, a person will
study the spider as Darwin studied the earthworm.
Perhaps it will be a boy or a girl who reads this
book; and there is little doubt that many new and
interesting things about spiders will be found.
We have learned, however, that some of the
ideas we have long held about spiders are quite
incorrect. For one example, many persons fear
the bite of the spider as much as they fear the bite
of a deadly snake; they believe that both are alike
poisonous, and perhaps fatal.
It is quite true that the spider has poisonous
fangs, and that its bite may kill a fly. But it is
absurd to think that for this reason a spider bite
may kill a man or a woman. A flea bite or a mos-
quito bite may seriously poison a person, especially
if that person's health is such that it is impossible
to throw off the poison readily. Anyone who is
not very strong may be harmed by the bite of a
spider, and one ought always to be careful in
handling them; but we may lay aside most of our
silly fears as to what spiders can do. Usually they
will not make an attack if they are let alone, and
very probably they pay their way in the world
by killing harmful insects.
There are one of two exceptions to the non-
poisonous spider that everyone should know. The
56 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
first and most common of these is a little black
spider, quite easily found in the temperate parts
of America. It is known as "the Black Widow."
It is coal-black, with a bright red spot on its abdo-
men. It generally makes its web in outbuildings
and under porches and houses where plumbers are
apt to come upon it when repairing broken water
pipes. There are several well-proven cases of
death resulting from its bite. It is said the Indians
of the southwest formerly poisoned their arrows by
dipping them in the mashed bodies of these spiders.
At any rate, it is well to keep a long distance from
this very black sheep of the spider family.
The tarantula, a big and ugly-looking spider that
does not live in temperate America, but that some-
times comes to us in bunches of bananas from its
home in the warmer climates, has been given a
very bad name, and is often said to be poisonous.
This is not quite proved, but few people would be
likely to encounter this fellow. Many persons in
the United States say it is not poisonous, but it
is much feared, especially in the tropics.
It was thought at one time that the bite of the
tarantula was so deadly that it made people ill and
they became insane. It was said that the only
cure was prolonged dancing, to a strange and
weird music which was supposed to drive the
poison out. Do you think that the old super-
stition may have a bit of truth in it, and that the
drenching perspiration that must have been caused
by long dancing did drive out the poison? At any
rate, we have some queer and wild music, which
has been in part copied from that to which people
danced at such times. These compositions are
SPIDERS AND THEIR NESTS 57
called "tarantellas." Ask a good musician to play
one for you. As you listen, close your eyes, and
imagine strangely dressed people whirling around
in a dizzy dance, now one and then another stop-
ping because of being quite tired out, and a new
dancer seizing the injured person, and urging, even
compelling, him to keep up the effort, until he
was too tired to dance another step.
Some travelers tell us that the hairs of tropical
spiders make the skin very sore, but this is probably
not because they are poisonous, but just because
they are hard and stiff. They get into the skin
easily, and scratch and irritate it more than if
they were soft.
Perhaps you ask why we do not use the strong
silk of the spider as we do that of the silk worm.
This has been tried, but no very practical way
has yet been found of making use of it. The spider
does not spin a cocoon in the regular way that the
silk worm does, and it is hard to make her spin web
silk. One very interesting attempt has been made
in France to use a spider that spins an especially
strong thread. The day may yet come when boys,
going to buy a new necktie, will say: "If you please,
show me one of spider silk. I prefer that to worm
silk." Or a girl, about to choose a new dress, may
hear the salesman say: "This is a fine piece of silk
from China;- or will you have this spider silk, just
received from our factory in France?"
But whether or not we are able to make use of
the spider's silk, we may learn a great deal from
studying her life and her ways. See how patient
and brave she is, and how she tries again and again.
She is only a tiny creature following blindly the
58 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
way that has been taught her. But she is under
God's kind and watchful care, and it helps us to
trust and be brave when we think, as we look at
"Jehovah is good to all;
And his tender mercies are over all his works."
Something to do:
1. Look in the encyclopaedia for pictures of spider egg
cases. Copy one or two in your notebook.
2. Find as many spider egg cases as you can and bring
them to class.
3. Test a spider's thread to see how far it will stretch,
and how heavy a weight it will hold.
4. Write a letter to some friend and tell the most
interesting thing you have learned about spiders. Per-
haps you can illustrate this letter with drawings of the
spider, its web, or its egg case.
The eyes of all wait for thee;
And thou givest them their food in due season.
Psalm 145. 15.
Psalm 147. 5 : Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; or
Psalm 148. 5:
Let them praise the name of Jehovah;
For he commanded, and they were created.
THE HONEY BEE
"On, good!" cried Don, as he unfolded his napkin
at the tea table one evening. "Honey and hot
biscuit for supper!"
"Yes," answered mother. "Grandfather sent us
a case of the best white-clover honey from Bonny
Brook farm this afternoon."
"Why do you say 'white-clover honey,' mother?"
asked Ruth. "Isn't honey just honey, and all alike?"
"Oh, no, indeed!" replied mother. "Honey varies
in flavor according to the flowers in which the
bees work. Orange-blossom honey has a very
distinctive flavor, and is quite unlike white-clover
honey. Some people are fond of sage honey, and
many will not eat honey made from buckwheat
blossoms at all."
"What do you call honey that is made from a
mixture of flowers? Tutti-frutti honey?" asked
"There is no such thing as honey made 'from
a mixture of flowers,'" replied father. "The bees
do not go from one kind of flower to another kind
to gather the nectar, even when the opportunity
is given, but stick to one sort as long as there is
any honey to be had."
"I should think," said Don, "that someone
would find a way of getting honey from flowers
by machinery. It would save so much trouble,
and there would be no danger of getting stung."
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
No, it did not,
"That is quite an original idea, Don," laughed
father, "but one that won't work. The nectar that
is found in flowers is not honey. It is changed to
honey by the bee."
"I didn't know that," said Ruth. "We used to
bite off the ends of the white clover to get what
we called the honey, when we were at the farm
"And it did not taste as this honey does, did it?"
agreed Ruth. "But, father,
where does the bee turn
the nectar into honey?
In the hive?"
"No," replied father.
"The bee gathers the
nectar, and carries it
to the hive in a little
sac called the 'honey
THE WONDERFUL HONEY FACTORY stomach ; here it is
(Enlarged) mixed and stirred with
certain juices that are
in the sac, and by the time the bee reaches the
hive, the honey is made."
,. "I always wished I could see what went on in
the hive after bees came in," said Don.
"It is an interesting sight," agreed father, "and
some day you must build an observation hive and
watch the bees at work. Until that is possible
you will have to use your imagination while I
tell you what goes on. The bee wastes no time;
she deposits the honey in the cells, empties her
pollen baskets and then hurries off for another
THE HONEY BEE
Comes from market
with Basket on hind leg
full of Pollen
"'Her pollen baskets'!" echoed Ruth. "Does
the bee have baskets?"
"Yes, indeed," said father, "two of them, little
pouches that grow on her
hind legs. She fills these
with pollen, the yellow dust
that you find on the
flowers, and this is made
into bee bread for the
"Are they taken care of
by nurses, like the ant
children?" asked Don.
"Yes, very much in the
same way," replied father.
"There are three kinds of
cells in every beehive. Each kind of cell holds a
certain kind of egg, from which a special kind of
bee is to develop. The small cells are for worker
bees, and there are a great many of these, for the
hive will need many workers. Larger cells hold eggs
that will develop into drones. In a hive of fifteen
thousand bees there might be perhaps five hundred
drone cells. Last of all, on the outer edge of the
comb are a few large cells, almost acorn-shaped,
and these hold the eggs
from which the queen
bees are to come."
"And the nurses?"
prompted Ruth. "Do
they carry the eggs about
as the ant nurses do?"
"They do not take,
the eggs outside," replied BEE WORKER (Enlarged)
62 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
father, "but they are most careful of them. You
know that only the queen lays eggs. She is so
busy doing this that she has no time to look after
the eggs. The nurses follow her about, as she
goes from cell to cell. They take great pains to
see that each egg is laid in the, cell in the right
position. They make sure that it is neither too
warm nor too cold for the eggs, and when the eggs
hatch, how the nurses do work!"
"Oh, I can guess what they do," cried Ruth.
"The eggs hatch into hungry little larvae, do they
"Yes," replied father, "astonishingly hungry
little larvae that eat all the nurses will give them
for four or five days. Then they get very sleepy,
and the nurses put them to bed
in the cells. Each sleepy little
grub spins a bed for himself, and
goes off into the soundest kind of
a .nap. The bee workers develop
WORKER CELLS in twenty-one days; a drone or
male bee four days longer; and a
queen from sixteen days to two weeks."
"And are they grown-up bees when they come
out, and all ready to make honey?" asked Ruth.
"None of the bees are quite ready to take care
of themselves when they first wake up," replied
father. "They are weak, and the nurses stroke
them and feed them on bee-bread and honey.
But it is not long before they get strong and are
ready to play their part in the work of the hive."
"Do tell the children the story of the coming of
the new queen," said mother. "I think it is the
most interesting part."
THE HONEY BEE
"I told you," said father, "that the queen larvae
sleep less than the drones or workers, so, of course,
they come to a full growth quicker. Their rapid
maturity is due to the royal jelly which is fed to them
by the workers. Besides this, the royal or queen bee
eggs were laid at different times, so the queens
are not all ready to leave the cells at the same
CROSS SECTION OF COMB
time. But when a new queen is ready to come out,
she makes a strange little call, that every bee in
the hive knows and understands."
"And what does the old queen do?" asked Don,
"Is she glad to think her daughter is ready to come
out, or is she angry to think another queen is near?"
"She is most terribly angry," replied father.
"She would gladly sting the new queen to death
if she could but reach her! But the other bees
know this, and they guard the new queen, still
in her cell, very strongly, and will not let the old
one come near her at all. But, of course, some-
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
thing must be done, and the bees are wise enough
to know the best way, generally. If the season
has been a good one, and there are a great many
bees in the colony, many of them will go with the
old queen to find a new home. They set out from
the old hive, or, as grandfather says, they 'swarm.'
Then the new queen comes out of her cell, and is
very lovingly cared for by her
subjects in the old hive."
"Is there never more than
one queen?" asked Don.
"You are thinking of those
other cells, in which royal eggs
were laid at different times,"
smiled father. "Those queens
were nearly ready to come out
when the new queen emerged.
They make in their turn, the
same sort of call that she made,
and she feels toward them just
as her mother felt toward her. She too wishes to get
to their cell and kill them every one! But the guards
are as careful to keep her from the other queens as
they were in keeping the old queen away, at least
until they make sure there are not enough bees in the
hive for a second new swarm. If there should be,
they might take the new queen, and go away to start
another new colony. But generally there are too
few bees left after the first swarm has gone to make
a second swarm. When the bees are sure of this,
they leave the royal cells, and it takes the new
queen but a short time to decide as to what she shall
do! She goes to the cells one after the other,
tears them apart, and kills every single young
THE HONEY BEE 65
queen. She will have no dangerous rivals in her
"And then?" asked Ruth, breathlessly.
"Then," smiled father, "having settled for good
and all the matter of rule, she goes out to take a
flight in the sunshine. You remember we spoke of
the drones. They never
make any honey; they
never do any work. They
too have heard the new
queen's call as she tried
to get out of her cell.
They are waiting near the
entrance to the hive and
when the queen flies into DRONE (Enlarged)
the air, they try to follow
her. She flies high up in the bright sunshine, and
only the very strongest of the drones can
follow her. The others may come back to the
hive for a time, but they are pretty sure to
be killed before winter comes. As soon as the
queen comes back to the hive she begins to lay
eggs, as did her mother when she first came to the
"Grandfather sent away for a new queen when
we were at Bonny Brook last summer," said Don.
"Why did he do that?"
"Good beekeepers know that it is wise to renew
the life of the hive from time to time, and, of course,
the way to do this is by getting a new queen,"
answered father. "Did grandfather put the new
queen free into the hive?"
"Oh, no," said Don. "She was shut in a little
box of wire, with some other bees that came with
66 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
her, and there was a little honey and some bits
of candy in the box."
"The new queen and her companions would live
on these," said father; "and while the hive bees
could not get near enough to her to hurt her, they
could come to the outside of her cage, sip the honey,
and get acquainted with her. Grandfather knows
bees so well, he could tell, by listening and watch-
ing, when the bees were ready to take her for their
queen. Then he would open the hive, take out
the old queen and let the new one come out of
"But, father," said Ruth, "I want to know what
becomes of the bees that 'swarm.' "
"We were so interested in seeing what the new
queen did that we nearly forgot the old one," said
father. "Probably the new swarm would not go
far. Very likely they would settle on a low branch
of some tree near at hand, piling one on top of
another in a great mass, with the queen snugly
hidden in the middle. A good beekeeper like
grandfather is generally ready for this leaving of
the old hive, and has a new one at hand to offer
the bees. He may spread a blanket or sheet on
the ground under the hanging swarm, set the hive
on it, and brush the bees to the blanket. A little
honey on the inside of the hive tempts the bees
to go in, and if the beekeeper is sure the queen has
entered the hive his work is nearly done. He need
only move the hive, after dark, to its place among
the other hives. The bees 'clean house,' making
everything really as 'neat as wax,' and then they
settle down to their real business in life, and begin
to make honey as if nothing had changed at all."
THE HONEY BEE 67
"A bee. is such a tiny thing, I do not see how
they make so much honey," said Ruth. "Grand-
father had pounds and pounds of it."
"You forget how very industrious bees are,
daughter," said father. "A good colony will often
make as much as one hundred pounds in a summer,
just by keeping always at it."
"It depends, does it not," asked mother, "on
when the bees swarm? I have heard grandfather say
'A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay.' "
"Yes," replied father, "and there is another rime
that shows how much less later swarms may be
expected to yield:
. 'A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
But a swarm of bees in July is not worth a fly.'
That is not always true, for July swarms may
make good buckwheat honey."
"The ant may be a wise back-yard neighbor, but
I think I like the bee better," said Ruth.
"I like what she gives us, at any rate," laughed
"Both ant and bee have a place in God's won-
derful plan for his world," said father, "though
from our point of view the bee may seem more
useful to man. Honey has always been highly
thought of as a food, and the land promised to the
people of Israel was thought to be of special worth
since it was a 'land flowing with honey.' Indeed,
people in Bible times valued honey so highly that
they often compared the teachings of the Lord
68 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Oh, I remember!" cried Don. " 'The ordinances
of Jehovah are true. Sweeter also than honey and
the droppings of the honey comb.' " Psa. 19. 9, 10.
"And 'sweeter than honey to my mouth,' "
Father nodded his approval. "There are many
other fine verses in the Bible about bees or about
their product. You will find them in books like
the Psalms, Proverbs, and in Matthew. Look up
some of them, and learn the ones you like best."
"The ants taught us to divide our work," said
Ruth, as they rose from the table. "I wonder
what the bee will teach us?"
"Why, to keep busy, of course!" cried Don.
"Don't you think the tea dishes call for you this
"Oh, I hate dis No, I don't!" cried Ruth.
"Mother, you rest in the swing, and I'll be 'as busy
as a bee' for twenty minutes; then you'll never
know there were any tea dishes!"
Something to do:
1. Catch a bee; wet it slightly. Dust with flour or
talcum powder very lightly, handling the insect gently.
Place the bee on the . windowpane and watch it clean
2. Feed a bee a bit of honey; let it fly to the window.
Look for the distended honey sac. It is about the size
of a small sweet pea, and at the large end of the abdomen.
3. In a nature book or an encyclopaedia, find a descrip-
tion of the wings of a worker bee. What is the reason
for this wing plan?
4. How does a bee hear and smell?
5. Make a little book of Bible verses about bees
THE HONEY BEE 69
6. People in Bible times were fond of riddles. Sam-
son made a riddle about a swarm of bees. You will find
it in Judges 14.
What was the riddle, and what was the answer?
To learn: Psalm 119. 103; or Psalm 19. 7-10.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the
Lord. Romans 12. n.
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
No neighbor that comes to our garden wears
more beautiful clothes, eats, in most cases, more
delicate food, or seemingly leads a more carefree
life than do the butterflies and moths.
How we love to see them flitting about from
flower to flower, sipping
the nectar from lily or
across the lawn, or waving
TbnQU6 their gorgeous wings in the
lQkrqed) warm sunshine.
Surely, you say, such
lovely creatures must have
an unusually lovely home. But did you ever find,
or, for that matter, did you ever even hear of, a
butterfly's nest? Ants' nests, bees' nests, wasps'
nests, but no butterflies' nests! One reason is that
the life of a butterfly, as a butterfly, is short. For
the brief time of its life any shelter that it may
chance upon will serve its needs. So you will find
the butterfly is so made that the building of a shelter
would be difficult, if not impossible, for, as a rule,
no creatures are given parts that they do not, or
will not, need to use.
To find the whole life history of the butterfly,
we must go in search of a creature quite different
from the butterfly. Perhaps the easiest way to
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
trace this very interesting history will be to obtain
some butterfly eggs, and see what happens!
Now, of course, you cannot go out among the
flowers and find butterfly eggs as easily as you
might expect to find hen eggs on the farm! The
butterfly eggs are so tiny that you might easily
overlook them, and they are laid in all sorts of
queer places. Perhaps the whole mass of eggs
may be no bigger than the head of a pin, though
each tiny egg would show a delicate and pretty
But even though these eggs are so dainty and
delicate, and so
they are not
laid in a nest,
as are the eggs
of birds. They
are very care-
fully placed in
spots for a
on such things
as cabbage leaves, or elm tree leaves, or in fruit trees.
They may be placed on beans or grain. Some
butterflies may select palm trees. Certain kinds
of moths look for woolen carpets, mother's furs,
or your best Sunday suit as the proper place for
their eggsl Each one follows the instinct that God
has put in her little being, and selects that place
that this instinct tells her will be the best food for
72 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
her babies. One very strange thing is that quite
often the butterfly or moth may come to the kind
of a place for egg-laying in which she has passed
no part of her life. One butterfly, for example,
spends most of her life among oak leaves; she may
even eat decaying flesh; but she will look for a
willow on which to lay her eggs.
If, then, you are to go hunting for butterfly eggs,
you must know likely places in which to look for
them. If you choose a time rather late in the
season, you are almost sure to get butterfly, eggs
by catching the butterfly herself, and shutting
her gently in a glass jar or covered box, with, per-
haps, a few leaves of the food plant. After the
butterfly has recovered from her fright, she will
very likely lay a number of eggs on the leaves; and
then you can permit her to fly away again.
You will be wise to keep the box in which the
eggs have been laid well covered over the top with
a piece of close netting or fine gauze, for butterfly
eggs are very well liked by many tiny creatures
who will eat them up, if you do not prevent it!
Watch your jar for a few days, and before very
long you will discover that the wee eggs have
hatched, not into lovely butterflies, but into crawl-
ing caterpillars. Now you must feed them, and
you will probably be quite surprised at the great
amount the wrigglers can eat. If you were watch-
ing at just the time the caterpillar came out of
the shell, you might have seen it turn around and
eat the shell the first thing. But this does not
satisfy it for very long. It wishes its own green
food and plenty of it. Perhaps you will need to
put a narrow strip of sticky fly paper around the
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
top of the box in which, you are keeping the cater-
pillars, or they may crawl out in search of more
Presently you will note that the caterpillars
have grown too large for their clothes, just as you
grow too large for
yours. But the cat-
erpillar does not
need to buy a new
suit when his old
one splits up the
back, for a new one
has been growing
underneath the old
one! After getting
out of the old suit,
the caterpillar will
rest for a few hours,
while he is getting
used to his new
dress, and then he
begins to feed again.
Some people say
that ths first thing he eats is the old suit! I think
it will be a good thing for you to discover if this
is ever true, true in some cases, or always true.
After the caterpillar has changed suits several
times, perhaps four in all, a very strange thing
begins to happen. The caterpillar begins to spin
some silken threads, which it fastens very securely
to some surface. Next it proceeds to twist and
tangle its hind legs in these threads. Then it hangs
head downward, and the skin along its back begins
to split. When the skin is nearly off, the queer
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
little body that is left often gives a quick jerk to
catch certain little hooks at one end of it into the
silk threads which the caterpillar wove. After a
short time the outside
skin hardens into a case,
the shape changing a
case that is left hanging to your box, or to a dead
branch or the side of the house, is called a chrysalis.
You may often find chrysalides hanging to
branches, to walls, tucked away in crevices, or
rolled up in leaves. Some are nearly covered with
bits of sticks, dust, fibers of plants, or the scale
bodies on which the larvae live. All of these differ-
ent coverings serve to hide and so protect the
chrysalis. If you bring them into the house in the
fall, and place them in a cage made of wire netting,
you can keep them safely till it is time for the
next change to take place, and
then you will have the chance
to watch one of the most won-
derful events in nature.
For, as you have guessed by
this time, the creature that
comes out of the chrysalis is
not a caterpillar but a lovely-
winged butterfly or moth, as
the case may be.
In most cases, the chrysalis Chrysalis
breaks at the front end, where
the head will come out. It looks sometimes as if
the little creature on the inside wets the case with
a fluid from its mouth, which no doubt softens and
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
dissolves the shell. Then the butterfly-that-is-to-be
crawls up on the skin, or shell, which is still held by
its support. The wings are bigger than they were
when in the shell,
but they are still
wet and crumpled,
and the abdomen
is large and clumsy.
But as the wings
are stretched out,
and slowly moved,
they dry. They fill
with thebody juices.
They grow strong.
Usually the front
wings do not get to their full size as soon as do the
hind pair. The abdomen grows smaller and be-
comes slender. After an hour or two spent in the
sunshine while the tissues of body and wing grow firm
and strong, the but-
terfly is fully grown,
and flies away to
make the best of its
little life, to enjoy
the sunshine and the
flowers, and then to
lay the eggs that
shall in good time
bring other butter-
flies into being.
It is hard to tell just how long a butterfly or a
moth lives. But it is supposed that some varieties
pass the winter in the winged or imago stage. Other
THE MILKWEED BUTTERFLY
76 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
varieties pass the time of cold as caterpillars, or
in the larva stage. Many live through the fall
and winter as chrysalides. You may be surprised
to know that some kinds live all through the cold
days as butterflies, and that the eggs are not laid
till spring. Some varieties have a complete life
cycle from egg to imago, or complete butterfly or
moth, at least twice in each summer, while others
complete five life cycles in a year.
We often speak of butterflies and moths as if
they ate nothing but the nectar from flowers, but
this is not always the case. Some of them are
very evidently fond of kitchen refuse. The beauti-
ful purple emperor has been discovered eating
While moths and butterflies have many things
in common, there is a real difference between them,
and it is usually not hard to tell one from the other.
Butterflies as a rule fly only by day, while moths
come out at night, .though a true night-flier may
sometimes be seen flying on a dull or cloudy day.
Moths spread their wings when at rest; butterflies
usually fold theirs, holding them erect. Moths
generally have a stouter body than the butterflies,
and their feelers are feathery, while the feelers of
the butterfly are slender, and end at the tip in a
little clublike swelling.
An interesting story of moth and butterfly is
found in the way they protect themselves through
coloring. Many moths rest with the hind wings
concealed beneath the front ones. In such moths
the front wings are often very dull, and may be
spotted till they so closely resemble the surface on
which the moth usually rests that you might put
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS 77
your hand on one before you saw it. Yet the under
wings may be very brilliant and lovely in color and
markings. Butterflies that fold the wings together
may show only a dull surface on the under part of the
wing, while the upper part will be vividly marked.
One very curious butterfly looks exactly like a
leaf when it is at rest. Its tail comes down so as
to touch the branch of the bush and looks like the
stem of a leaf. A little notch where the wings
start lets the head withdraw till it cannot be seen.
The markings on the wings look exactly like the
ribs of a leaf, and no matter how sharp your eyes
are, you are almost sure to be fooled by the clever
It is thought that some butterflies are known
to the birds through their brilliant markings to be
bitter and unpleasant to the taste, and that, for
this reason, the birds let them alone. Other butter-
flies do not have these same bitter juices, but are
let alone because they look like the others.
One other protective trick that you may have
noticed in some butterflies is their zigzag flight,
which makes them more difficult to catch. No doubt
the very spiny, woolly coat which some caterpillars
wear must make them disagreeable to many birds.
There are other ways of which we cannot tell
here in which butterflies and moths and their cater-
pillars escape their enemies. See how many of
them you can discover for yourselves. You will
find it a very interesting chapter written by the
hand of God, and as you learn of the wonderful
plans he has made for the rare of his little creatures
which we often overlook or forget, you will come
to have a new love for his goodness. You will find
78 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
out many new facts, but no matter how much you
may study, you will always say, "Thou knowest
not the work of God who doeth all."
Of one truth you will come to more and more
sure "the earth is full of the loving-kindness of
Jehovah." The butterflies and moths will help
you to understand this, and you are sure to feel
that, in doing so, they have played the part of
very good neighbors indeed.
Something to do:
1. Find and read Robert Graves' poem on the cater-
2. Make an Easter card from heavy paper; decorate
it with butterflies, which you may copy from a colored
plate, or paste on from crepe paper. Write on the card
the verse you will find in Job 14. 14.
3. Watch for butterflies during the day. Write descrip-
tions of their markings. Note what flowers and trees
they visit. Try to secure butterfly eggs as described in
4. Look for cocoons and egg cases under rafters, along
fences, in the woods.
5. Go to a bright street lamp, or place a bright light
in a window, and study the moth visitors. How many
kinds can you name?
6. Write a short story of the life of a butterfly.
7. Write in your notebook one fine lesson the butter-
fly teaches us.
1. "The Example," a lovely little poem by W. H.
Davies on a butterfly; or
2. "A Caterpillar's Apology for Eating a Favorite
Gladiolus," a poem by Charles Dalmon.
He hath made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3. n. .
HUNTING BIRDS WITH EYES
"I AM going on a bird hunt to-morrow," cried
Doctor Cookman, overtaking Don and Ruth on
the way home from school one Friday afternoon.
"Don't you want to come along?"
"Indeed I do!" cried Don, eagerly.
Ruth hesitated, searching anxiously the merry,
laughing face of her favorite teacher. Then, as her
eyes fell on the camera he carried over his shoulder,
her face brightened.
"Do you really mean we may go with you on a
camera hunt for birds?" she asked, as eager now
"That is just what I mean," replied Doctor
Cookman. "The birds are at their nest-making
now, and we ought to get some great pictures!"
"Oh, what fun!" exulted Ruth. "Indeed I do
want to go!"
Next morning, after a very early breakfast, the
trio set off for a long day in the country.
"First we will explore this sand bank above the
brook," said Doctor Cookman. "I hope to get
a picture of the nesting holes of the bank swallows.
Yes, here are several."
"Those nice, round holes?" asked Don. "They
look as if they had been cut out by one of grand-
"They do indeed!" laughed Doctor Cookman.
82 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"But they were tunneled out by a bird smaller
than the English sparrow."
"How far back in the bank do they run?" asked
"I opened a tunnel once, in October, after I knew
that the birds had gone, and that tunnel was more
than two feet in length. Quite a bit of work for
a pair of tiny birds like the two flying over yonder,"
and the professor pointed across the little stream.
"I did not know birds are tunnel-borers," said
"Very expert borers, some of them," replied
Doctor Cookman. "The kingfisher builds a deeper
tunnel, but we do not see him as often as the swal-
low, because he always selects the bank of a stream
in which fish live. Both the kingfisher and the
swallow use their tunnels for homes as well as for
"Does the kingfisher really fish?" queried Don.
"Yes, indeed!" replied Doctor Cookman. "The
plumage is very oily, and well adapted for sudden
plunges into the water. The bird will sit high up
on some branch over the stream, and when a good
dinner swims below it drops like a flash and comes
out of the water a minute later with a squirming
fish held tight in the beak. This may be eaten at
once, or it may be carried to the hungry nestlings in
the tunnel. When you get home, look up Neltje
Blanchan's amusing description of these bank babies
and the way they get their meals."
"Where next?" asked Don, as Doctor Cookman
folded his camera after snapping a picture of the
"We will try for a view of that tall elm in the
HUNTING BIRDS 83
meadow yonder," replied Doctor Cookman. "An
oriole has just finished her nest, and I am quite
sure that this is just the right light for a good
photo. See if you can discover the nest, Ruth."
Ruth turned bright eyes on the drooping branches
of the elm, and looked searchingly at it.
"I do not see a nest, but there is a queer-looking
bag hanging from that low branch," she said.
"That bag is the nest," laughed Doctor Cook-
man. "It is one of the cleverest nests in all bird-
dom. It is hung where boys and snakes and squirrels
cannot reach it. It is rain proof. It is so strong
that it will hold a family of four or six till the young
have grown big enough to fly away. It is deep
enough to hide the members from any robber hawk.
It is made of no, I think I won't tell you what
it is made of. Take my field glass, Ruth, and see
how many things, different materials, you can dis-
cover on the outside of the nest. Then when Don
and I have finished with the photograph, I will
tell you what I have found on the inside of orioles'
"Hair, string, a strip of rag, a bit of yarn, dry
grass," announced Ruth, a few minutes later when
Doctor Cookman and Don threw themselves on the
grass beside her.
"Quite right!" approved Doctor Cookman. "One
seldom finds all of these materials in one nest,
but our Madam Oriole has been visiting the back
yard of Mrs. Brown, and has taken a rag from the
"And the inside of the nest?" asked Ruth.
"It is probably lined with milkweed and plant
fiber," replied Doctor Cppkman. "Perhaps she has
84 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
also used bits of bark. This nest is partly covered
over the top, because, as I suspect, Madam Oriole
knows the hawks have a nest on yonder cliff, and
she means to make herself and her nestlings as safe
"How many nestlings will she have?" asked Don.
"A Baltimore oriole's family is from four to six,"
answered Doctor Cookman.
"Why do you call them 'Baltimore' orioles? Is
it because they come from Baltimore?" asked Ruth.
"Oh, no!" laughed Doctor Cookman. "Orange
and black, the oriole's colors, were the colors of
Lord Baltimore, who settled Maryland. There is
a tradition that he chose those colors because he
admired the orioles so much. I suspect he had
chosen his colors long before he came to Mary-
land, and that the bird was named because it
wore his colors, but you may take your choice of
the two reasons."
"I choose to think that Lord Baltimore chose
his colors from the bird," responded Ruth, very
"James Russell Lowell loved the oriole," went on
Doctor Cookman. "You ought to learn his lines
'Hush, 'tis he!
My oriole, my glance of summer fire.' "
"Teacher, teacher, TEACHER, TEACHER!" called
a voice from the thicket across the road, so earnestly
that Don and Ruth both sprang to their feet.
"An oven-bird!" exclaimed Doctor Cookman.
"Let us see if we can find the nest. It would be
fine to have a picture of one. But you must expect
HUNTING BIRDS 85
to spend a long time looking, as it is the very hard-
est of all nests to see."
The three crept softly into the dry woodland,
and began to search among the leaves.
"The nest will look like a tiny mound, a wee
Dutch oven," whispered Doctor Cookman. "You
may even think that some plant is just beginning
to push up the leaves. Watch for the parent birds.
If we come upon them feeding among the leaves,
they may show us where the nest is."
Presently Ruth's small finger pointed. "There
are two birds looking for worms," she said.
Doctor Cookman nodded, and they all crept on
softly. A crackling twig startled the birds, and they
began to show much alarm. The mother limped,
dragged her wing as if it were broken, and did all
she could to distract the attention of her unwel-
"The nest cannot be far," said Doctor Cookman.
"I do not wish to trouble the birds, but the nest
is a sight worth seeing. We will not touch it, and
they will become quiet as soon as we go. Begin
here as the center, and we will work out till we
"Here it is!" cried Don, after a few minutes
of careful search.
"See how much it looks like the ground around
it," said Doctor Cookman. "We are very lucky
to have found it at all. Here is the opening on
one side, and look, there are five speckled little
eggs in it!"
"If they only knew we would not think of touch-
ing one of their precious eggs!" said Ruth, with an
eye on the anxious parents.
86 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"We will be off in a minute," said Doctor Cook-
man, busy with his camera. "There, I am sure
that will make a splendid picture. Now I would
like to show you another nest I found recently
over in that clump of willows."
Ruth and Don followed their friend to the side
of the brook, and there, firmly built in the fork of
a small willow, was an odd-looking nest made of
plant fibers, leaves, and grass. Ruth stood on
tiptoe, and caught her breath as she saw the dainty
lining of hair, feathers and down.
When the three had found a sunny place on the
bank, Don turned to Doctor Cookman.
"Why is the nest so tall?" he asked. "It looks
like a like a well, almost like a three-story nest
on the outside!"
"That is exactly what it is!" said Doctor Cook-
man. "But the two lower stories are never to be
used. Most of the bird books tell of such nests,
but we do not often find one. This nest was built
by a yellow warbler, and she has built one nest
on the top of another, till she has three of them!"
"But why?" asked Don.
"I have often told you that Citizen Bird is one
of our best friends and helpers, and that is generally
true. There is one exception to this rule. This is
the cowbird. Look yonder across the fence and
you will see a cowbird walking about among the
'She is a busy bird; what is she doing? Eating the
bugs and insects that the cows disturb?" asked Ruth.
"Yes, that is probably why she likes the company
of the herd," said Doctor Cookman, "and as far
as that goes, she is a good neighbor. But the cow-
HUNTING BIRDS 87
bird is lazy, and will not build a nest for herself
she prefers to steal one!"
"Oh," cried Ruth, "does she drive the other
"No, indeed!" said Doctor Cookman. "She is
quite too lazy to care for her own babies. So she
lays her eggs in the nest of some smaller bird, like
the yellow warbler, or the vireo, and goes off.
Our yellow warbler here in the willow found the
cowbird's big egg in her nest, and could not roll
it out, so she built a second nest on the top of it,
though it sealed one of her own eggs. But this
was better than having a great cowbird baby to
feed and to take from her own children the best
of the food. But even after the second nest was
finished, the cowbird, on the watch for her chance,
laid a second egg, and Madam Warbler built the
"The brave, clever little mother!" cried Don.
"The cowbird is ever so much like the dodder,
isn't she?" asked Ruth.
"I think she is," smiled Doctor Cookman. "It
makes little difference whether it is a plant or a
bird or a person, we do not admire one that does
not make his way by fair means."
"No, indeed!" agreed Ruth and Don heartily,
as they turned toward home. As they went along
the meadow path Ruth's sharp eyes fell on a broken
"Oh, Doctor Cookman," she cried, "what hap-
pened to this bird's egg?"
Doctor Cookman searched for a minute, then
pointed out a softened mass of mud and sticks
lying on the ground.
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
.. - ' K8&* ' ^^^^^^K->^~.i%3^ ., i. :iC.> '3t%a&3ZK: ^.djMS^HB^BR'%^ ^K*i.i*.&^&3&<&3icftg&:3^:<3
(Photograph by William L. and Irene Finley. By permission of Nature
Magazine, December, 1924)
HUNTING BIRDS 89
"It is the wreck of a robin's nest," he said.
"Robins use mud instead of clay to plaster their
houses. Of course the nests tumble after such a
hard rain as we had the other day. The phoebes,
the barn and the cliff swallows are wiser. They
build under bridges, cliffs, or the eaves of the barn,
and so are safe."
"There are dozens of swallows under the eaves
of grandfather's barn at Bonny Brook," said Don.
"The farmers say that you can tell when it is going
to rain by the way the swallows fly. Is that true,
"There may be a bit of truth in the saying,"
said Doctor Cookman, "but it is not that the
swallows know any more about the rain than you
or I do. The swallow hunts for insects when fly-
ing through the air. You can see that insects with
their fine gauzy wings cannot fly high when the air
is heavy with moisture; so that the low flight of
the birds may indicate possible rain."
"The swallows must be glad for dry nests then,"
added Ruth. "I should think all birds would make
nests under the eaves or in hollow trees."
"Many birds do nest in hollow trees," said
Doctor Cookman. "Other birds, not finding the
right sort of hollow, will make one. The wood-
peckers are best at this. Their bills were made
for hammering, drilling, and chiseling. After they
desert their homes bluebirds, chickadees, owls, or
wrens may move in."
"Birds have as many different kinds of homes as
do people!" cried Ruth.
"That is quite true," agreed her friend. "You
have seen only a few of the bird homes to-day, but
90 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
the more you know of them, the more interesting
you will find them. You will discover that each bird
has its own part to play in God's great wonder
world. To each little feathered neighbor God has
given exactly the tools that best fit it to do its
own work. One may have a hammering bill like
the woodpecker. Another may have a long and
slender tongue like the humming bird. One bird
will have stiff hairs around its bill to help in catch-
ing its insect dinner. One bird's best tool will be
a pair of long legs for wading. When you find a
bird with a tail or a coloring or a bill or tongue
that is ever so little different from another bird's,
you may ask the meaning of this difference. You
must always be sure it has not happened just by
chance; there is a meaning back of it."
"How many things there are to know!" sighed
"That is true," laughed Doctor Cookman. "It
is because there are so many things to know that
life is so interesting. And the very best part of
the knowing is that we come to understand our
heavenly Father better. Job says:
'Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee;
And the birds of the heavens and they shall tell
"Some of our very best lessons of trust and
faith come from the birds."
" 'God feedeth them,' " murmured Ruth.
Doctor Cookman smiled down on his little friend.
"Yes," he said, " 'They sow not, neither reap;'
they have no 'store-chambers nor barn; and God
HUNTING BIRDS 91
feedeth them.' If God cares so much for a little
bird, do you not think he will care even more for
you? And if the birds have such a great part to
play in fulfilling God's plan, what do you think of
the part that boys and girls may play? Don't
you agree that it must be worth the best that one
can put into it?"
"Yes, indeed!" agreed Don as he took up the
camera and started toward home.
Something to do:
1. Send to the National Association of Audubon So-
cieties, 1974 Broadway, New York City, for Educational
Leaflets, with illustrations and outlines of birds. The
cost will be small, and you will have much pleasure in
learning all about the birds of your own vicinity.
2. Paste on a cardboard a large colored picture of a
bird which you may perhaps find in a catalogue or mag-
azine. Arrange at one side, one above the other, the
letters that spell the name of the bird. Cut the picture
into strips. Make several of the cut-ups, and put them
all in a box. Such "Sliced Birds" will be a good rainy
day game, and will help you become familiar with the
3. Play a bird game with your friends. All the players
but one, who is IT sit in a circle. IT, standing in the
center, points to a player, saying, "Bird, one, two, three,
four, five!" The player pointed at must name a bird
not previously named by a player during the game, be-
fore IT says "Five," or take the place of IT. The game
may be varied by saying "Bug" or "Beast" instead of
"Bird," at the will of IT.
To learn: i. Matthew 6. 26; or Isaiah 65. i4a; or Mat-
thew 10. 29-31.
92 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
2. "The Sandpiper," or some other short poem about
3. Learn to identify as many birds as possible in your
He giveth to the beast his food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
Psalms 147. 9.
No, I do not mean the eagles, though they are
our national bird, and are stamped on our coins.
I am thinking of far less imposing and lordly feath-
ered creatures than eagles. I have in mind the
woodpeckers and the nuthatches, the warblers, the
vireos and the meadow larks, the gulls and the
"Owls!" do I hear you exclaim in horror: "owls
are not guardians. We need to guard against owls:
they steal poultry." Not so fast, not so fast, my
child! There is much to be said for the owl, as
you shall find out presently.
Of course you have always admired the birds
for their pretty ways and their delightful songs.
You have watched for their coming in the spring,
and have been sorry to see them fly south when
the cold autumn winds began to blow. Did you
ever stop to think how useful the birds are? You
know how the earthworm serves us. You love
the honey that the bee gives. You think that even
the ant and the spider may have a part to play in
making and keeping our world in order. But what
do the birds do?
"Four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie;
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing,
Isn't that a pretty dish to set before the king?"
That is what many have said about birds fit only
94 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
to kill and eat. It took a great many years for
people to learn how stupid and foolish this is,
but we are coming now took now that birds are as
useful creatures as live on the earth. We could
not get on without our plowmen earthworms, to
be sure; nor could the earthworms get on without
the birds. If now and then a hungry robin makes
an early breakfast from a worm, he has helped the
earthworms by making possible the green food the
There are so many harmful insects that live on
cultivated plants, the leaves of trees, in the crevices
of the bark or under it, even in the fruit of trees,
that it is said they would in ten years, if unchecked,
eat every green thing off the earth! But our good
guardians keep always busy at their work of watch-
ing these destructive insects. Bugs and beetles,
their eggs and larvae, worms of more kinds than
can be mentioned here, all are sought out and
destroyed by the sharp-eyed and busy little birds.
If it were otherwise, you and I would go very
Someone has figured out that every meadow
lark eats enough grasshoppers in every season to
make that lark worth a dollar to the farmer. The
farmer who kills enough of these songsters to make
a single pie has had a pretty expensive dinner,
has he not? Insects make up almost three quarters
of the lark's food; the rest is largely weed seeds.
Do you not agree that the man who allows a lark
to be shot on his farm could as wisely make a bon-
fire of his money? He would be no poorer in pocket,
and the world be happier, since the song of the
lark would still remain!
BIRD GUARDIANS 95
Birds need far more food in proportion to their
size than does man. Their hearts beat faster, and
their blood is so much warmer that in humans
it would indicate a high fever. All of this demands
much food to keep the tiny life going, and so birds
are kept very busy searching for something to eat.
It is hard to guess how much is actually eaten,
though persons who have tried to bring up by hand
young birds that have been injured or that have
fallen out of the nest, have more than once been
quite astonished at the amount of food that a
nestling demands in a day. Many birds eat their
own weight of food in twenty-four hours. If you
were to eat as much in proportion to your size, it
would mean that you would require forty, fifty, or
sixty pounds of food per" day.
Stop, then, to think how tiny are many of the
eggs, the bugs, or the worms that the birds eat,
and guess, if you can, how many of the trouble-
some creatures our guardians make way with in
a single day. In a season all of the birds probably
eat many tons of such food food, that, if allowed
to live and grow, would spoil our crops, our fruit,
our trees. Do you not think we can afford to let
the robins, for example, have a few of our cherries
and strawberries, or permit the mocking bird to
eat a few grapes in payment for the really splendid
service they give us?
Among the helpful little guardians that you may
watch at their work are the warblers. There are
many members cousins, if you wish in this large
family. They seem to like insect eggs extremely
well, and begin with them. When the fresh-egg
season is over, and the larvae have come from the
96 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
eggs, the warblers turn attention to them. After
a time all the larvae turn into insects, and then the
birds begin on the insect itself.
But another point will interest you. All of the
warbler family do not work on the same part of
the tree. There seems to be a very sensible and
convenient division of work among them. God has
given some of them slender little bodies, and special
tools for doing special kinds of work. Certain of
them will care for the tree trunks and the larger
branches, looking into each tiny crack for eggs
that may be hidden away. Others hunt through
the twigs and the foliage, peeping under each leaf
and looking over each stem. They know where
the. clever insects are likely to hide their eggs!
Still others work largely on the ground, searching
under dead leaves and catching many an insect
that would harm the lower part of the tree. All
of them are very fine aviators: they can take nose
dives, and make sudden and unexpected swoops
from limb, telephone wire, or tree branch, to catch
fly or insect that is floating by, looking, it may be,
for a safe place to hide some more eggs.
There is many an interesting story to be read in
the lives of some of the insects on which the birds
live, and none is more fascinating than that which
has to do with the way the insects try to defend
themselves against the birds. Whole books have
been written about this one side of insect life alone,
and you will find many pages about it in your
library. One way that some insects have taken
is to grow a hairy coat, and to look very fierce.
Suppose you were a bit of a warbler, and were to
encounter in a tree a huge tent caterpillar? Do*you
BIRD GUARDIANS 97
not think it would look to you like a monster?
That hairy coat that so many of the caterpillars
wear must seem most unpleasant to the smaller
birds, and many of them will not touch these
roughly-clad customers. But larger birds, like the
slim cuckoo, are not so particular about a few hairs.
These birds can easily get in and out among
the thick branches of the trees, and they make
short work of the caterpillars. They eat them,
hairs and all. Do you not agree that we can for-
give the cuckoo for the disagreeable and lazy trick
of foisting her egg and the bringing up of her chil-
dren, on some other mother, when she proves her-
self such a useful member of the world society?
Orioles too eat caterpillars, beetles, cut-worms,
and a long list of other harmful life. Their food
list is nearly as long as is our own, though I am sure
you will think it not at all like ours. But without
them we would be in a very sad fix. A worm-
infested tree in a California yard was visited morn-
ing after morning, for several days, by a Bullock's
oriole. The owners watched the bird's attack on
the worms from a screened porch, hardly daring to
whisper, lest the little helper be frightened away.
When the tree was quite cleaned, the oriole returned
no more. His police duties no doubt took him to
The purple martin is a member of the swallow
family and may be coaxed to settle in almost any
yard, if a suitable house which cats cannot enter
is provided. Martins like swinging nests, such as
may be easily made from dried gourds. They are
social little things, and will live happily in bird
apartment houses that provide for several families.
98 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Peach growers often hang such nests near their
orchards, or erect tall poles to hold a house, and
feel that they are a hundredfold repaid by the
destruction of tree pests on the part of the martins.
The chipping sparrows, the grosbeak, wrens, nut-
hatches, and chickadees, all are helpful little
guardians. Hundreds of harmful insects are de-
stroyed by them, and much of their vegetable food
is made up of weed seeds. The wren may be coaxed
to become your near neighbor by providing her a
box for a home, the entrance to which is so small
the English sparrow cannot pass. This fighting
little fellow disputes the right of possession with
the wren whenever there is a chance of an outcome
favorable to the sparrow, and Jenny Wren is no
match for such a foe !
A beautiful bird that looks after our shade trees
is the downy woodpecker. He wears a tiny red
cap, and a black coat striped with white. His tail
is wedge-shaped, and helps him to keep his place
on the bark of a tree, as he goes round and round
the trunk, looking in every tiny crack for insect
or grub. Let him once hear the faintest sound of
creeping creature in a bit of dead wood below the
bark, and he uses his strong bill as both hammer
and chisel, to dig out the intruder, and make way
with him. This good citizen is one of our best
helpers. Indeed, he is so valuable in preserving
the forests that Enos R. Mills has given him a
whole chapter, and he names him "Dr. Woodpecker,
Tree Surgeon." He tells of the way the wood-
pecker uses his barbed tongue to pull out a borer
when he has drilled his careful hole, and writes
such a fascinating account of his tree work that
BIRD GUARDIANS 99
you will all wish to read it for yourself. Certainly,
you will always feel a thrill of gratitude hereafter
whenever you hear the drumming of the wood-
pecker on a dry tree branch, for you will take it
as a sign that he is about his very important busi-
ness of preserving the trees from their enemies, or
drilling holes to fill with nuts for winter.
One bird that has been not a little misunderstood
and charged with being a robber is the owl. Owls
undoubtedly have been sometimes guilty of robbing
the farmer of chickens. I once saw a very large
owl caught in a trap set for him in the front of the
chicken yard; he had been taking several chickens
every night until the angry farmer resolved to
stop his thieving. But such deeds are rather rare.
A news item in a California paper not long ago
told of two school boys who found a nest belonging
to two owls. There were six eggs in the nest, all
of which hatched. The boys kept careful count
of the food brought to the baby owls, and learned
that in the first seven weeks of their lives the young
owls ate three hundred and seventeen gophers and
ten mice. The parents almost surely ate twice
as many rodents as they fed to their babies. Do
you wonder that these boys refused one hundred
dollars for the two birds?
Another bird lover banded a pair of owls ten
years ago, and thus he knows that they come back
year after year to nest in the same college tower.
In one year he found on the floor of the tower room
nearly a thousand skulls of rodents that had been
eaten by the owls. If each year the owls raised
five young, which was the average for the nest in
the ten years, and each birdling ate ten mice a
ioo OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
night, during the seven weeks they remained in
the nest, do you not think they were doing their
share in keeping these pests under control? Sup-
pose all these young birds lived, made their own
nests, and raised their own young, feeding them
at the same rate, how many hundreds of rats,
mice, gophers, and squirrels have been eaten by
this family and their children in the ten years?
You must remember too that all of the animals
named as food of owls are harmful and destructive.
They destroy food and material in vast amounts
every year, and probably do much to spread dis-
ease, so the owls are helping greatly when they
catch and kill them.
It would take far too long to tell you of all the
ways in which birds of different kinds act as
guardians. It can only be suggested that many
birds, such as gulls and buzzards, serve as scaven-
gers, and help by keeping our shores and inland
stretches clean by removing dead and decaying
fish and flesh. Other birds keep down the destruc-
tive weeds, and it is estimated that even the noisy
and disagreeable English sparrow kills enough
noxious weeds every year to pay his way. You
should study the birds of your own community,
find out what they eat and how they live, and what
you can do to make them more useful. Perhaps
the best way for you to serve is by making houses
for them. Perhaps you can more easily help by
planting the wild fruit that they like; this may
keep them from feeding on your cultivated fruit,
and at the same time persuade them to stay and
fight your insect enemies. In this way you will
be paying a part of your debt to your guardians,
BIRD GUARDIANS 101
and you will be helping your Father in caring for
his creatures. For you remember that Jesus said:
"Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow
not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;
and your heavenly Father feedeth them." You
will like to think, too, of the lesson of trust Jesus
taught, when he looked at the men in the streets
selling sparrows to the poor people: "Are not two
sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them
shall fall on the ground without your Father. Fear
not, therefore: ye are of more value than many
sparrows" (Matt. 10. 29, 31).
There are many lessons of trust, of cheerfulness,
of making the best of things, of happy industry,
that the birds have for us if we will look for them,
and when we once realize how much of our welfare
and happiness depends on their careful guardianship
of our trees and crops, our American sense of fair
play will make us wish to repay our feathered neigh-
bors by caring for them in the best ways we can find.
If you would like to know what would happen
if all our birds were killed or banished, find Henry
W. Longfellow's poem, "The Birds of Killing-
worth," and you will get a picture of a place with-
out a bird. Would you like to live in such a place?
How many ways can you find of making sure that
your town will never be in the unhappy situation
in which Killingworth found itself?
Something to do:
i. Make a list of the birds that you have seen in your
community. Which ones stay all the year? Which ones
do you see only in the summer? Which ones come only
102 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
2. Make a list of the birds that are mentioned in the
Bible. Find a fine Bible description of some bird.
3. Find and read the story of Saint Francis of Assisi
and the birds.
4. Learn and recite a beautiful bird poem.
Matthew 6. 26: Behold the birds of the heaven, that
they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;
and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye
of much more value than they? or
Matthew 10. 31: Fear not therefore: ye are of more
value than many sparrows.
He sendeth forth springs into the valleys;
They run among the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field. . . .
By them the birds of the heavens have then* habitation;
They sing among the branches.
Psalm 104. 10, n, 12.
LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS
MEN who own houses for rent are always eager
to find good tenants to occupy them, tenants who
will prove pleasant neighbors and who will make
a community to which other tenants will like to
come. I am sure you will feel that no neighbors
could be found who would be more desirable than
the birds of which we talked in the last lesson, and
I suspect you will find that playing landlord to
them will bring you a great amount of pleasure
and interest. How shall you go about it?
The answer depends upon the season of the year
in which you are starting out to be a landlord.
Let us suppose that it is early winter. You think
this is a very unfavorable time to start? Not at
all! The number and the kind of birds that stay
with you all winter will depend not a little on the
part of the country in which you live, but in almost
any section you will find a surprisingly large group
that stay the entire year. Take a bird census and
learn the names of those that belong in your com-
munity, and then you will know how to begin
You may need some help in this census-taking.
Let us suppose that you live in the vicinity of New
York City, or not far from the forty-second degree
of latitude. Then you will find Neltje Blanchan's
seasonal list of birds, as given in Bird Neighbors,
164 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
will be of use. Take the list and see how many
of the birds named you can discover for yourself.
You will find several good bird books in your
library; one has been written for the Eastern part
of the United States, and one for the Western.
If you live in the country, you will go to the woods
and the thickets to look for the birds described in
these pages. You will perhaps search along quiet
roadsides, where weeds still stand with seed cases
not yet emptied, or you will walk through an old
cornfield, if some of the shocks have been left
standing. Your snow-blanketed vegetable garden
may be another good place to find the birds at
If you are a city dweller, you need not be dis-
couraged. Many a city boy or girl has had as many
bird friends as any lad or lass that lived in the open
spaces. City parks, as well as country woods,
offer a resting place to birds, and you will be sur-
prised to see how many feathered visitors you can
coax to your city windows when you send out the
right sort of invitations.
What invitations should you use? In winter,
first of all, food! Think how hard it must be for
birds to find food when snow covers the ground,
and ice coats the weeds so that every little seed
is well hidden. If you provide good cafeterias for
the birds, you will quickly find how eagerly they
will come to enjoy them.
Sometimes the very best way possible is to
place a broad shelf outside the window. This you
will keep free from snow, and every morning you
will spread crumbs, bird seed, bits of meat, suet
and nuts on the shelf. If you are careful not to
LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS 105
frighten the birds at first, it will not be long before
you can watch them as they eat, and you will
learn many interesting things about these brave
little winter friends.
It is a good plan, when you can do so, to make
a sliding shelter, putting it on a wire and letting
it slide from your house into the branches of a tree.
It is easy to fasten a rope to one side of the box,
so that it can be pulled back every day to be re-
filled. Such a shelter can be made very easily by
any boy or girl. Use a starch box for it, cutting
the ends into points to form a gable. Make a
roof that projects a little, as this will prove a better
protection from snow and wind. Cut the sides
away to allow the birds free entrance, and to make
the shelter light enough for comfort. A small wire
basket may be fastened at each end to hold suet
and meat scraps.
If an evergreen tree with thick, sheltering foliage
grows near your home, strips of suet may be tied
to this for the birds. Strong shallow baskets firmly
tied or securely nailed to tree trunks will make a
good bird dining room also. Perhaps you have a
porch roof easily reached from a second-story
window, which you can keep free of snow and well
spread with the dainties that birds like best.
You may prefer to make a feeding shelter to be
placed on the top of a pole, and provided with
broad sides that will serve as weather vanes. If
this shelter is pivoted so that it will swing as the
wind blows, feeding birds will always be protected
from the cold winds as they eat.
Neltje Blanchan, in How to Attract the Birds,
gives directions for making up a bird food, which
106 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
can be prepared and cooked in quantities, then
packed away for use as needed. You will like to
But your fun as a landlord to the birds has only
begun when you cater to them in the winter. You
will find that bathing tubs bring them quite as
surely as well-filled dining tables, for birds are
very clean and dainty little creatures, and love a
safe, cool bath. In setting up bird baths you must
remember two or three points. The first concerns
cats! Cats love birds as food, and we must not
blame them too much; they are but following the
laws of their nature when they stalk and kill birds.
One way to prevent the killing of birds by cats
is to banish the cats. Another way, less sure, is
to see that Pussy is well fed, so that birds do not
offer too great a temptation. A third way is to
place baths, shelters, and houses on poles or in
trees, too far above the ground for a cat to spring
to them; then you should also place around the
tree a guard which cats, snakes, and red squirrels
cannot pass. A broad strip of tin, which can be
made from old cans opened by melting the solder
over a hot fire, will be useful if nothing better can
be had. The very best guard is one of wire, the
lower part of it extending outward like a many-
ribbed open umbrella. Such a guard is very useful
and looks well on a tree.
As to the form of your bath for birds, that may
be left to your own choice. Only let it be shallow,
as a deep bath offers too many dangers to the small
birds. They may easily drown. If the bath is
broad enough to permit, you may add stones on
which the birds may perch. In any case you should
LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS 107
place the bath where it will be partly sheltered,
and where birds have not far to fly for a safe perch
while they preen and dress their feathers.
If you can arrange a bath so that water will
continually flow into and out of it, this will be
most satisfactory.. If this is not possible, you can
change the water every day, and perhaps in the
hottest part of the season it will need to be replaced
twice a day. But how your feathered tenants will
enjoy it, and how well they will repay you with
songs and antics and pretty ways! Do not miss
this part of the fun of being a landlord.
An equally important part of your duties as
landlord is the providing of proper homes for birds.
Now, birds of many a feather will peaceably share
a common bath, and a bath of almost any sort,
provided it will hold water. But not so when it
comes to selecting a home for the season, a home
in which the precious eggs are to be laid, and the
more precious babies are to be brought up. Here
is a point at which you will need to use your very
best judgment as a landlord 1
In spite of the fact that the English sparrow is
a useful bird as an insect destroyer, he does make
a nuisance of himself in other ways sometimes, and
it is well to have this in mind when building bird
houses. It is said, for example, that bluebirds
like a house that swings from a wire better than
one that is fixed. The sparrow does not like this
kind of house, so if you suspend your house you
are more likely to attract bluebirds than sparrows.
Try it and see if this is true.
Again, the sparrow does not hesitate to drive
Jenny Wren from any shelter that he fancies, pro-
io8 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
vided he can get in to take possession. But Jenny
can enter a hole through which the larger sparrow
cannot squeeze himself. When you are making
a house for the wren, be sure that you make the
opening just big enough to be comfortable for her,
and the fighting little sparrow will be forced to leave
It is also said that many birds are very particular
about the height of their homes, and that sometimes
they will pass by an attractive house again and
again when fixed at one height, only to take pos-
session of it eagerly when it is raised or lowered.
Books tell you to put martih houses at heights
varying all the way from eight feet to forty feet!
I think you will just have to try till you find out
the height best suited to the birds of your own
section. John Burroughs, who studied our birds
so carefully, said that most of our song birds build
low, half of them making nests less than five feet
from the ground, and three-quarters of them in
nests less than ten feet from the ground. Find
out if this is true of the birds in your section. List
the birds that build below the five-foot line; list
those that build above the ten-foot line. Ask your-
self why birds choose their nest sites as they do.
Long, long ago a singer thought about this very
question, and he put his thoughts into a lovely
song. You may read it in Psalm 84. What do
you think his answer means?
From what are you to make your houses? From
almost anything that is at hand. Tin cans may be
turned into a house that will suit many a bird
tenant. They may be laid on the side, the open-
ing being covered by a board through which an
LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS 109
entrance has been cut. The can may stand on end,
with a semicircular piece cut on the side, and bent
down to form an alighting place. Holes ought to
be punched in the back of the house to permit
ventilation. Tin can houses ought also to be cov-
ered with bark or wood, both to make them cooler
by protecting them from the sun's rays, and to
hide their glitter, which birds do not like. Many
clever houses may be made from them, however,
and it will be good fun to spend the long winter
evenings in devising ways to use them, and then
you will have your supply of dwellings ready in
plenty of time for the first tenants who arrive
from the South.
Gourds provided with stout cord or raffia hangers,
and baskets woven from reed and raffia, or willow
and raffia, are other possibilities. I once saw a
cunning nest made of five bits of board and a ball
of twine: this was a clever idea that the maker
learned from a tiny bird that built her nest in a
twine ball he had left tucked in the supports of
Other bird landlords have used the bark-covered
slabs that can be found at saw mills, and which
boys can quickly turn into usable houses with a
little work. Robins are said to prefer open houses,
with little more than a roof, particularly when
it is well hidden among the shrubbery. Other
birds like better to live in holes hollowed in trees;
these birds would be attracted to houses made
from small logs, sawed -into , halves, hollowed 'out,
and then nailed or screwed together again.
. After a seas'on ;lor two -of experimenting: and
designing, .you will find- yourself .well ^equipped
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
play the part of a successful landlord to the birds;
and it is safe to say that nothing you do will give
(Photograph by H. L. Bohlman. By permission of Nature Magazine. May, 1924)
THE JOY OF MAKING BIRD HOUSES
you more pure joy. Your care for these little beings
so wonderfully made by God will be rewarded a
LANDLORD TO THE BIRDS in
hundred times; and you will have the delight of
knowing that you have added much to the pleasant-
ness and beauty of his world.
Something to do:
1. Read Longfellow's "The Birds of Killingworth. "
Make a little play of the poem, and invite your friends
to see you give it.
2. Get all of your friends, both boys and girls, to make
bird houses from original or copied designs. Have the
birdhouses put on exhibition at a certain day. Ask some
older people, perhaps the mayor of your village and your
minister, to serve as a committee to decide which is the
best, the most original, and the most useful of these
houses. A red, a blue, and a white ribbon, may mark
the first choices.
3. Arrange for a Bird Day, when throughout your
community your bird houses will be put in place for the
use of the birds.
4. Make a collection of colored prints of birds. Mount
these pictures nicely on cardboard, leaving a good margin
at the bottom. As you see each bird in your own vicinity,
place the date and the locality under the picture.
5. Try to find some person who will imitate for you
the songs and cries of your local birds. A very inter-
esting entertainment can be given by such a person.
If you charge a small sum for admission, you may be
able to interest people and also to secure money to build
a bird fountain.
6. Perhaps you will like, yourself, to learn to imitate
Luke 9. 58: ... The birds of the heaven have nests.
Matthew 10. 42: Whosoever shall give to drink unto
one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the
ii2 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no
wise lose his reward; or
Isaiah 11.9: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my
holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowl-
edge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.
HOW PLANTS GROW
And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs
yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after then*
kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and
it was so. And the earth brought forth, grass, herbs
yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit,
wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God
saw that it was good. Genesis i. n, 12.
DON and his small friend Hugh were at work
weeding a bit of new lawn, when Hugh, who had
been resting a minute and gazing at the row of
cannas that stood against the house, said, "What
big leaves those cannas do have! Leaves are just
the most important part of a plant, aren't they,
"No, sir, not at all!" replied Don. "The roots
are the most important part; look at this one I
have just pulled; it is several inches long."
"Silly!" laughed Ruth; "you are both wrong.
The flower is the most important part, of course.
Doesn't mother always water and trim her plants
so they will have just the best flowers she can get
"Let's ask mother," cried Don. "This weeding
is nearly done, and it's too hot to work longer in
the sun, anyway."
So the three went to the shady porch, where
mother was busy with some sewing, arid asked to
n6 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
be told which is really the most important part of
"To answer that, we will need to see what parts
the plant has, and just what each does for the
plant," said mother. "Suppose you pull up two or
three plants by the roots, wash them free of soil,
and bring them to me. Don, you may bring
several weeds. Hugh, pull a little bean plant, a
lettuce, and a tomato plant from the garden, and
Ruth, you may find a young radish and a little
beet plant." *
In five minutes the children were back with the
plants, and Don brought the magnifying glass
from the library.
"Suppose you look at the roots first,, and tell me
what they are like," suggested mother.
"They are just like thick threads, and there are
ever so many hairs growing from them," said Hugh,
as he looked sharply at his bean plant. "What
are the hairs for, and what is a root good for any-
"I have found out one thing roots are for,"
answered Don, promptly. "It is to hold the plant
firmly in the ground. Didn't I have to tug to get
some of these weeds out?"
"Indeed you did," smiled mother, "and that is
one very good use that roots have. Can you think
"Don't .the plants eat through their roots?"
"Yes," answered mother. "That is how they
get food. The little hairs suck in the water and
other material that makes the plant grow. If you
look through the glass, you can see a tiny cap on
HOW PLANTS GROW
each root, like a very wee
thimble. This is to protect
the end from hard sub-
stances that would wear or
hurt the root, as it pushes
its way through the soil in
search for food for the
"The hairs are so tiny
I should think it would
be hard for much food to
get through them," said
"One of the most inter-
esting things about: the
plant is the way it prepares
its food," replied mother.
"You do not eat sugar,
but you put it in your
cocoa, where it dissolves.
In very much the same way
the solid earth food is dis-
solved in a sort of acid
that is in each tiny root-
let. This makes it possible
for the roots to suck in
the food; you might say
the roots make a soup for
the plant to drink."
"Plant sou p h o w
funny!" chuckled Hugh.
But Don said, checking off
on his fingers:
'Two uses of roots j to
n8 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
hold the plant and to feed the plant. Any more,
"Certainly," said mother, very promptly. "At
least some roots have another use. What vegetable
did you have for lunch, Don?"
"Creamed carrots and beet salad," answered
Don at once.
"And what part of the plant did you eat?" asked
"Why, I never thought, but I suppose it must
be the root," replied Don.
"But. it's not a bit like my bean plant root,"
"No," said mother, "you are right. The bean
roots and others like them are called fibrous roots,
since they look so much like fibers or threads.
Fat roots like those of the beet, the carrot, or the
radish, which Ruth has here, are called fleshy
roots. They are really storehouses for the plant.
You know plants like the radish, the beet, and the
carrot do not spend much energy in making fine
blossoms or fine fruit. They lay by the extra food
that might be used in this way in their roots, and
that is just why we choose to use them on our
tables there is so much good food stored up in
their big fleshy roots."
"Then the roots are the most important parts,
aren't they, mother?" demanded Don.
"Stems are important too," said Ruth, before
mother could answer.
"Humph! stems!" cried Hugh. "Why, some
plants don't have any stems at all. My narcissus
plants haven't any; they just sit on the ground."
"We won't decide yet which is the most im-
HOW PLANTS GROW 119
portant part of the plant," said mother. "But let
us think of Hugh's narcissus plant for a minute.
It is true that some plants have no stems, and we
name them sessile, from a Latin word that means
exactly what Hugh said 'sitting.' But the wise
men tell us that the narcissus does have a stem,
though it is not strange that Hugh should think
it has none. What did you put in the ground to
get your narcissus flowers, Hugh?"
"It was a little round fat brown thing, some-
thing like an onion," answered Hugh.
"That is what we call a bulb," said mother.
"If you had wished, you could have stripped off
layer after layer of what are really brown under-
ground leaves. Your bulb is an underground stem,
from which the leaves and the roots grow. Plants
of this sort store their food in these thick under-
ground stems, and the real roots are the tiny fibers
that grow from them."
"Then I suppose that, if plants store food in their
stems, we sometimes eat stems," suggested Ruth.
Mother's eyes twinkled. "Indeed we do," she
said. "We had stems for dinner yesterday, and
will have others for dinner to-day."
"I know!" cried Don. "Asparagus!"
"Celery too," added Hugh.
Mother nodded. "Something else, besides those
two very good stems," she said.
"Surely not potatoes," suggested Ruth, hes-
"And why not?" asked mother. "It may be a
queer-looking stem, but if you will look closely
at a potato you will see little buds starting from
the 'eyes' or marks on the potato. The little scales
120 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
are really leaves. So the potato cannot be a true
root for only root hairs and root branches grow on
"Do we eat any other stems?" asked Hugh.
"Suppose you think about it and tell me to-
morrow," said mother. "Try to find other uses
that the stem has too, for you must remember
that plants do not grow just to feed hungry boys
"I was sure stems are important, but I think
leaves must be most important of all," said Ruth,
decidedly. "Aren't they, mother?"
Mother held up a warning finger. "Do not
decide too quickly. Remember the true scientist
gets all the facts first and then . comes to a con-
clusion. Let us see what work the leaves have to
do for a plant."
'Work!" cried Hugh. "Do plants have to work?"
c Certainly!" said mother, "especially if they
would grow and be healthy, and have a nice family
of children. We spoke a little while ago about the
broth the roots dissolve out of the earth for the
plants. This is a kind of raw food. How would you
like it if you never had any but raw food to eat?"
"Oh, that would be dreadful!" cried Don and
Hugh in a breath.
"Plants do not like raw food any better than
you do," said mother, "so one part of their work
is to cook food, or at any rate to prepare the broth
for the use of the plant. Where do you suppose
this is done? Where is the fire for the cooking?"
"The sun?" suggested Ruth, doubtfully.
"How can the sun reach down to the roots, and
cook the broth?" objected Hugh.
HOW PLANTS GROW 121
"I know, I know," cried Don. "The sun does
the cooking, but the kitchen is the leaves, and not
"Quite right!" agreed mother.
"But how does the broth run up hill to the
leaves?" questioned Ruth.
"That is hard to understand," said mother,
"and the very wisest men are not altogether sure
about it themselves. But you know it does run
up. You have broken off a milkweed, or a poin-
settia, or some other leaf that grows on a plant
with milky juice, and you have seen how the plant
'bleeds.' And you can understand that when the
juice runs all through the leaves that are spread
out in the sun it will be 'cooked' in the heat. But
the leaves are more than kitchens for the plant;
it is through them that the plant breathes and
"Oh, mother, does a plant really breathe?"
asked Ruth with much interest.
"Do you remember those dusty weeds that grew
along that sandy stretch of road just beyond grand-
father's barn? How did they look?" asked mother.
"Why, as if they were sick and almost ready to
die," answered Ruth.
"That was just because the dust had covered
them so thickly they could not breathe well; they
were choked so that the air could not pass in through
the little openings or mouths that you can see on
every leaf if you look at it through a microscope.
Do you not remember how the aphides choked up
the rose leaves till they died and dropped?"
"And you said plants perspire too," suggested
122 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"You can prove that for yourselves," answered
mother. "Take a leaf and press it against the
window pane. You will see the water collect on
the glass just as it does when you breathe on the
glass. When a plant gives off water faster than it
takes it in, what do you think happens?"
"Why, I should think it must wilt!" cried Hugh.
"That is just what happens," agreed mother.
"Some plants perspire much more than others. A
single big sunflower plant may give off as much as
a quart of water in a day. It is thought that a
lawn that contains an acre of ground gives off
several tons of water in twenty-four hours. The
reason a leaf fades and wilts when it is broken from
the plant is that the water keeps on going out
through the little mouths, and there is no way of
replacing it after the connection with the plant has
"Does grandfather cover his young plants in the
garden to keep them from losing water too fast?"
asked Don, recalling the way the young cabbages
had been looked after the summer before.
"Just for that very reason," answered mother.
"Some plants these same cabbages can help them-
selves to keep the water from oozing out when
they are grown stronger. Did you ever notice the
waxy covering on the cabbage leaves or on the
rubberplant? Other plants grow a covering of fine
hairs. Some plants that grow in places where the
sun is very hot will hang their leaves so the sun
cannot strike much of the surface in the hottest
part of the day. Still others have leaves that are
very small, or they may have fewer mouths through
which the water can pass."
HOW PLANTS GROW 123
"Leaves are certainly the most no, very im-
portant, parts of the plant, aren't they, mother?"
"They most certainly are," agreed mother, smil-
ing, "and the next time we will talk about a special
kind of leaf that very, very many plants have.
These leaves have a most important work to do,
and I think you will wish to find out all you can
about it. Perhaps you can discover just what we
call these leaves before next time."
"Root, stem, leaf," said Don, thoughtfully fin-
gering the plant in his hand. "Each part has its
own work to do, hasn't it, mother? A plant is a
sort of vegetable city, just as ants are an insect
city, only it is stuck fast in one place and can't
"Yes," agreed mother, "each part of the plant
has its own place to fill. Each fits into a part
of God's plan, and helps in his work. Plants,
as well as animals, are created by his hand. Do
you remember the verses you had last week at
our morning hour about God's care of the plant
"Oh, yes," cried Don.
" 'Thou crownest the year with thy goodness;
And thy paths drop fatness.
The valleys also are covered over with grain;
They shout for joy, they also sing.' "
"And my verse was, 'He maketh grass to grow
upon the mountains,' " said Hugh.
124 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Mine is the best of all," said Ruth. "It is
'Thou openest thine hand,
And satisfiest the desire of every living thing.' "
"I like to think of the plants as neighbors," said
Don, "and I mean to know ever so much more
about them before I stop!"
Something to do :
1. Dig up and study some simple plant, noting its
2. Draw or trace in your notebook a simple plant.
Mark the parts root, stem, leaf.
3. Look in a textbook of botany, and learn the names
of different kinds of stems. Make a list of as many as
you can find, and give an example of each.
4. Find out for yourself if leaves of plants do perspire*
5. Place a few seeds, like those of radish or grass, on
blotting paper or cotton in the bottom of a dish. Pour
a little water in the dish. Cover with a glass and keep
in a warm place. Do not permit the seeds to get dry.
Watch their growth, and make drawing of them in your
6. Make a list of a dozen plants that are of most use
7. Make a list of the plants that are most useful to
animals other than man.
To learn: Psalm 65. 9-13; or Genesis i. n, 12.
A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not,
neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, Even Solomon
in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Luke 12. 27.
"I'VE thought and thought, and I can't find any
special leaves or any special work they do," said
Ruth, as the three children gathered on the porch
for the next talk about plants.
"I think I know, mother," said Don, eagerly.
"I asked my teacher, and she says you must mean
the flower. She says many people say that the
little green things just below some blossoms bracts,
she called them and the green leaves around the
flower cup, and even the colored flower leaves, are
just changed real leaves. And she says, too, that
those little threads in the very middle of the flower
are changed leaves, and that some of them show
ridges just like the middle rib of the leaf," and Don
sank back in his chair and took a long breath after
this lengthy speech.
Mother smiled at the eager and questioning
faces of the three.
"That is a very fair statement of fact," she said,
"and I am glad you took the pains to get it all so
clear in your mind. Not all flowers show the change
clearly, but you can study it for yourself in the
peony. Some time, when you have a water lily,
see if you can tell just where the white petals stop
126 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
and the yellow 'threads,' as Don calls them, begin.
Some petals are almost 'threads' and some 'threads'
are almost petals."
"The threads have a special name, but I do not
remember it," said Don, apologetically.
"Yes," said mother, "there is a special name for
these parts, and we will learn it soon. It is not
hard, and we may as well learn to call things
properly. But before we try to get the name,
look carefully at a flower, and tell just what you
see. This cherry blossom will do splendidly for
study, for all its parts are so easy to see."
"Let me start," begged Hugh, and at mother's
nod, he bent over the flower. "First, on the out-
side is. a little green cup, cut into parts."
"That," said mother, "is called the calyx, and the
separate parts or leaves into which it. is cut are
called sepals. What do you suppose the calyx is
good for? Look at these buds that have not opened
and you may find one reason."
"I should think it would help keep the little
flower leaves inside safe and warm," suggested Hugh.
"Good!" replied mother; "I am glad you are
thinking. Now, Ruth, what next?"
"There is a cup of white leaves," replied Ruth.
"This cup," said mother, "is called the corolla,
which means 'crown,' and each separate part or
leaf is a petal"
"Oh, those are easy words!" cried Ruth. "Calyx,
sepals, corolla, petals. I like knowing the right
"Now, Don, tell us what is next," smiled mother.
"A number of little threads with bundles of
yellow powder on the ends," replied Don.
A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER
L-stamen with pollen
"These little threads are called stamens, from a
word that means 'standing,' " said mother. "The
powder has its own name too. It is called pollen.
It is made up of many tiny grains, each one beau-
tifully shaped and marked. Some day you may
have the opportunity
to look at them under
a powerful micro-
scope, but our small
glass will not help you
very much, so I have
brought these pictures
to show you just how
the pollen grains from
some of our common
flowers look;" and
mother opened a big
book by her side, and
pointed to pictures of
pollen grains greatly
"Oh," cried Hugh,
"there is one just the
shape of my foot
"That one looks
like the sea urchins we found on shore," said Don.
"And that one might be a snail from its shape,"
said Ruth, pointing to a third.
"Are they all marked like these?" asked Don.
"Usually, though in many different patterns,"
replied mother. "Each flower has its own shape;
each kind of pollen has its own marking. Tiny as
they are, each is perfect, and very beautiful. But
pollen cjrain growing
128 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
the most wonderful fact about them is that each
has hidden away in it a tiny speck of living sub-
stance. The wisest person that lives cannot tell
you all about this substance, but we do know that
it is a part of every living thing."
While mother was speaking Hugh had been
gazing intently at his cherry blossom, and now he
"There is one stamen in the middle of my flower
that has no pollen. Did it shake off, or didn't any
ever grow on it?"
"Good for you, Sharp Eyes!" cried mother.
"No, that particular thread is not a stamen, and
it never had any pollen. Look again and see if it
is just the same shape as the stamens. Do you
find one in your blossoms too, Don and Ruth?"
"Yes," said Ruth, "and it is shaped like a little
club. What is it, mother?" .
"Its club shape makes people think of the pestle
with which druggists make their powders, and so
it was named the pistil" answered mother.
"The end of it looks moist and sticky," said Don,
who had been peering through the magnifying glass.
"That is true in most cases," said mother, "and
you will soon see why it needs to be so. Tell me
how the bottom part of the pistil looks."
"It is much thicker at the bottom," said Don.
"I shall cut through this part," said mother, "so
that you can see just what is on the inside," and
with a small sharp knife she cut to the very bottom
of the pistil.
"It is full of little baby seeds," cried Ruth.
"That is exactly what you see inside the pistil
box," agreed mother. "Each little seed has its own
A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER 129
speck of life substance, though it is not the same
sort of substance as is found in the pollen grains.
But no little seed will ever become a real seed, a
seed from which a new plant can come, without some
help from outside of itself. Where do you suppose
this help may be found?"
"Maybe the life substance of the pollen would
help, but how could it ever get down into this firm
little case?" asked Don, thoughtfully.
"It is the life substance of the pollen that helps,"
agreed mother, "and I will tell you how it reaches
the baby seeds. You remember the moist sticky
top of the pistil? A pollen grain falls on this, and
what do you suppose happens?"
"It might swell and grow, just like a seed in the
ground," said Don.
"Something very like that does happen," an-
swered mother. "When the inside has grown large,
the outside case of the grain cracks open along one
of the markings, and a tiny tube that makes you
think of a rootlet begins to push its way down
through the pistil. This wee tube carries its speck
of life substance to mingle with the life substance
of the baby seed. Then the seed begins to grow.
The flower leaves will begin to fall off, and the
stamens will lose all their yellow pollen. But the
pistil will stay. Do you know what it becomes?"
"You said it would grow into a seed," began
Don, slowly, then, as he thought hard for a mo-
ment, he suddenly added, "It must grow into the
cherry pit, of course!"
"Of course!" agreed mother. "From these 'pits,'
or new cherry seeds, new trees may come. It was
just to produce these seeds in order to have new
130 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
plants, that the tree or plant sent its roots down
into the soil to prepare and drink up the food.
It was for this that all the green leaves spread
themselves out in the sunshine and the rain, cook-
ing the food, breathing for the tree, and helping it
to grow. All of it was done for the sake of the
'children' of the tree, its seeds."
"I thought cherry trees were meant to give us
cherries to eat," exclaimed Ruth.
"I am sure God was thinking of his human chil-
dren when he made plants and trees that produce
food," answered mother, "just as I am sure that
he likes to have us enjoy the beauty and brightness
of the flowers. But both the color and perfume
of flowers, and the rich pulp of the fruit have an-
other part to play, in addition to their service to
us, as we shall learn a little later."
"Do all flowers have stamens and pistils, and
make seeds in the same way?" asked Ruth.
"In the same, general way, yes," replied mother,
"though plants vary greatly as to number of sta-
mens, the way the pollen boxes open to let the
pollen out, the number and the partings or cuts
of the pistils. Look at this buttercup, for example,
and tell me how many pistils it has."
The children bent to look at the buttercups, and
D on exclaimed :
"Where are the pistils? I can't find the sticky
ends, but these little things in the very middle
do not have pollen, so they must be pistils, and
there are ever so many of them."
"You are right," said mother. "The pistils are
so small you cannot see the sticky end; and they
are many in number, all fastened to the cone-
A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER
shaped little object you see in the very center.
Some flowers have a single pistil that will be quite
likely to catch you napping, for you may say the
flower has two or three or six pistils, when it really
has only one, but cut into parts at the top. It will
be interesting for you to look at all the flowers you
find after this, and see how many things you can
find out about their stamens and pistils, the number
of each, and the ways in which the pollen boxes
open. You will find
some curious ways of
too. The pea fam-
ily, for example, al-
ways hasten stamens,
and nine of them grow
quite close together,
while the tenth al-
ways stands at some
distance from the
"It is easy to tell
the stamens and the
pistils in flowers like
our Easter lily or
the tulips, because
they are so big and
not have any green
"Be careful!" said mother.
dusty, but these flowers do
cup, any calyx, I mean,"
"It is not strange
that you should think these flowers have no calyx,
but the wise folks tell us that if one cup is missing
it is not the calyx, even though the cup that we
have is a brightly colored one. So we will gall
132 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
these the flower leaves, and then we will be sure of
making no mistake."
"They are lovely, whatever name we give them,"
said Ruth, burying her nose in the white lily cup
and lifting it well dusted with yellow pollen.
"Indeed they are!" answered mother. "You
remember what Jesus said of the beauty of the
lilies, do you not?"
" 'Consider the lilies,' " quoted Ruth, " 'how they
grow. They toil not, neither do they spin; yet I
say unto you, Even Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these.' "
"I like to think Jesus loved the flowers too,"
"He often spoke of flowers and of the beautiful
things growing," said mother. "He used the
flowers to teach us a lovely lesson of trust. Point-
ing one day to the lilies and the fresh grass, he
said, 'If God so clothe the grass in the field, . . . how
much more shall he clothe you, O ye of little faith?'
Think what a barren world it would be, how im-
possible it would be to live, if God had never created
'every plant of the field,' and 'every herb of the
field' to clothe the earth, and to play their share
in carrying out his great plans."
"I thought flowers were made just to be pretty,"
said Don, "but they are more than that; they are
a part of God's plan for seeds and new plants,
aren't they, mother?"
"Yes," agreed mother, "parts of a very wonder-
ful plan. Even their beauty and perfume have a
reason for being besides the pleasure that comes
from them, and we will learn about this in a few
A PLANT AND ITS FLOWER 133
Something to do:
1. Pick a common flower and learn to know its parts.
2. Draw or trace the parts of a flower, and mark each
with its name.
3. Learn to know ten common flowers in your neigh-
borhood. Make a list of the names, and opposite each
name write the parts which that flower has.
4. Make a "beauty spot" in some place where no
flowers grow, by sowing flower seeds, weeding the ground,
and tending the plants when they need your care.
5. Select some flower, in your garden, in a window box,
or in the woods, and mark it so that you can easily find
it from time to time. One way is to tie a string to the
flower. Watch the growth of the flower, from week to
week. What happens when the petals fall off? What
color was the flower? What insect visitors did it have?
What is the seed? How many facts about it can you
To learn: Luke 12. 27.
To read: "Discontent," a poem by Sarah Orne Jewett.
ROOTS OF MANY FORMS
... If the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans
" 'STOREHOUSE' roots for dinner!" cried Ruth
one day, as Don set on the kitchen table a basket
filled with young beets, crisp radishes and yellow
carrots, from the .garden. "Aren't they pretty,
mother? And the green leaves of the carrots look
like feathers, though I think I like flowers better
than leaves. Why don't carrots blossom too?"
"They do, child," laughed mother, "though you
probably have never 'seen a carrot in bloom. But
you remember the tiny carrot seeds you sowed in
the garden last spring. How did you think the
plant produced seed if there were no blossoms?"
"But why do we never see the blossoms, mother?"
"Beets, parsnips, radishes and other plants that
have fleshy, or, as Ruth called them, 'storehouse,'
roots we name biennials," answered mother. "That
means that they require two seasons to produce
their seed. In the first season, the plant is very
busy indeed. What do you suppose it does?"
Ruth shook her head in doubt, but Don cried, "I
can guess! It makes a 'storehouse' root."
"Exactly!" replied mother. "It does not try to
blossom at all, but stores all the food and drink it
can, in its fat root. When the next season comes,
- / ----_,-.--- __-._,..--.._ . j
ROOTS OF MANY FORMS 135
it is not necessary for the plant to lay up a supply
of food before beginning to bloom. It soon sends
out its flowers, and it feeds these and the seeds
that grow from them with the food it has already
in waiting. If you were to let a radish grow the
second season, till the seeds were ripe, you would
find, if you dug up the root, that it was withered
"Then we use storehouse roots just because they
are storehouses, and have food in them," said Don.
"Imagine chewing on the thready roots of plants I
Ugh! wouldn't they be tough?"
Ruth laughed at the look of disgust on Don's
face, then turned to mother to say:
"All roots grow in the earth, don't they? That's
one way you know they are roots."
"You are mistaken," laughed mother. "Roots
have many queer ways. Don, please bring me a
spray of the English ivy that grows on the chim-
Don ran to the side of the house, and soon
returned with a long branch of ivy.
"My, but this vine held tight!" he said. "I
had to pull ever so hard before it let go."
"With what did it hold fast?" asked mother.
"Oh, mother, you know," he responded; "all
these queer little things that grow along the stem."
" 'These queer little things,' " said mother, "are
roots little air roots, that do not help the ivy
to get its food at all, but they do help in another
way, the way that you learned."
"You mean holding the vine fast to the wall?"
queried Don. "They are good at that, I can tell
136 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Indeed they are," agreed mother. "There is
another sort of air root you will like to see and
know about. We will stop at the florist's some day
and ask him to show us his orchids. These are
strange and lovely plants, many of which come from
South America. They often grow on the branches
of trees, where their seeds have found a lodging
place. Here a few 'hold- tight' roots may keep the
plant from falling. But these are not the feeding
roots. The feeding roots hang loose in the air.
The end of each one may be covered with a queer,
spongy stuff, and it is this that sucks in for the
use of the plant, the food on which it lives- air,
water, or various gases. You see, one kind of orchid
is a true air plant. Some orchids grow upon the
ground, and some in wet marshy places."
"Earth roots, air roots," repeated Ruth. "There
ought to be water roots, to finish the list."
"There are," smiled mother. "Some of them are
more earth than water roots, but they are such
thirsty roots that they often play much mischief
with the drains in city streets. They find a tiny
crack or crevice in a drain pipe, and first one wee
root, then another, will force its way into the pipe.
At length the pipe gets so full that the growing
roots break it, and a leak comes. In some cities
this has happened so many times that it has become
necessary to forbid the planting of such trees in
places where they may cause damage."
"What about the roots of plants that grow in
water?" asked Don.
"Some of them are real feeding roots," answered
mother, "and may take the food from the water.
Others, belonging to plants that grow in shallow
ROOTS OF MANY FORMS 137
water, may have roots that are planted in the
mud. Some are just 'hold-fast' roots. I have
found them on the beach sometimes, washed up
after a storm, and often they are fastened so
securely to a stone or rock that they cannot be
"Earth roots, air roots, water roots," said Ruth,
counting them off on her fingers. "Was that all,
"No," answered mother, "there are some roots
that find still another place in which to grow.
There is a queer, ghostlike little blossom that I
used to find in the woods when I was a little girl.
It is called Indian pipe, and is shaped very much
like a pipe. It is a waxy white. If you were to
find it, you might think at first that it grew out
of the ground; but if you examined the spot care-
fully, you would find that under the loose soil
there is decaying vegetation of some sort, usually
an old log, in which this odd little plant has its
roots. Broom rape is less striking than the Indian
pipe, being much smaller, and of a pale, dull color,
but it grows in much the same sort of place. Then
there are several well-known plants that live on
other plants. Do you know the name of one?"
"Oh, yes," cried Don. "I remember! Grand-
father showed me some dodder last summer. It
looks like a mass of yellow threads. It grows on
the stems of other plants, and lives on the food
they bring up, without doing anything itself."
"That is quite true," said mother. "It starts
out in life from the little seed, but never makes any
effort to get its own food. Instead, it sends up a
shoot that feels about for the right kind of a branch
138 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
on which to fasten and then it sends its shoot down
into this, and drinks up the food that the plant
has prepared for its own use. Sometimes the
dodder gets into flax fields, and chokes to death all
the plants that a farmer has tried so hard to raise
in order that we may have our linen' towels and
"I don't like the dodder very much, mother,"
said Ruth. "I hope no other plants are like
"The mistletoe," answered mother, "always feeds
on other plants, very often choosing the oak. The
seeds drop on the branches from other mistletoe
plants, or they may be carried by birds. They send
out little roots that find their way into the branches
as the earth roots of other plants find their way
into the ground, and presently you may see on
some fine old oak a great mass of green, quite
unlike the oak leaves. Then you know that the
mistletoe has made itself at home, and is sucking
the oak juices."
"I won't be dodder or mistletoe," said Ruth,
shaking her head decidedly. "I'll use my own roots
and do my own work. I'd rather be a beet or a
carrot than dodder."
"Or a good honest oat plant," laughed Don.
"I read last night of one oat plant that had a root
one hundred and fifty feet long. Think of that
some distance for a little oat plant to send out
for food and water, wasn't it?"
It was a well-rooted plant, indeed!" said mother.
It is a splendid thing to be well-rooted, whether
you are a boy or a girl or a growing plant. You
remember the parable of the sower, and what Jesus
ROOTS OF MANY FORMS 139
said of the plants that withered quickly in the
hot sun they had no root. If you depend too much
on others for work or fun or thinking, you are not
sending down good roots you are like the dodder
or the mistletoe. The Bible speaks often of the
importance of good roots. 'If the root is holy, so
are the branches.' Paul prays that the Ephesians
may be rooted and grounded in love. Let the roots
teach you a lesson, and whether you are to be an
oak or an oat, a man or a woman, make sure of
Something to do:
1. Find a picture, or make your own drawing, of
plants that have different kinds of roots. Name each
2. Make a list of roots that give man food.
3. Find a moist place and a dry place, in the lawn or
in a lot, where weeds are growing. Carefully pull up
two or three weeds from each place. Perhaps you can
find the same kind of weed in both places. Compare
the roots from the two places; how do they differ? What
is the reason for this?
4. Sow a few seeds as directed in Lesson XL Examine
the roots under a magnifying glass and see if you can
point out the tiny root hairs. What happens to these
hairs when the water in the dish dries up? What happens
to them when you touch them with a pencil?
5. Place two wide-mouthed bottles side by side, and
fill one about half full of water. Put a thick cord or a
twist of rag into the bottle with the water, letting the
end of the twist come down into the water, while the
other end hangs over in the empty bottle. Leave the
bottles for a day or more, and note what happens. Ask
your teacher to help you find what capillarity means.
140 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Does this experiment help you to understand how the
water and the sap get from the roots of a plant to the
6. Look at the stems of plants, and bring to the next
session of the class as many different shapes and kinds
of stems as you can find.
To learn: Proverbs 12. i2b; or Ephesians 3. 17.
PLANTS AND THEIR STEMS
WHAT is a stem? . What does it do? What
shape is it? If you had been asked these ques-
tions two or three days ago, would you have an-
swered something like this? A stem is the part
of the plant that holds up the leaves, and it is
generally round. Perhaps you might have used
those very words, but if you had been asked to
bring in to this class as many different kinds of
stems as you were able to find, I suspect that
you would wish to change some parts of your
answer, and before we finish this lesson you may
wish to change it still more.
You may think that the stem has no very great
part to play in the life of the plant, other than to
hold up leaves or flowers, and that there is little
for us to learn about it. You remember one lesson
we learned when we were studying the earthworm
is that it is never wise to overlook small or simple
or plain creatures or parts. Perhaps we shall find
that stems have a fine lesson for us too.
One of the first things we learn when we begin
to study plants is that all of them are named from
the kind of stem they have. One division is made
according to the length of time a stem lives. All
plants whose stems live one year, and then die
down at least as far as the root are called annuals,
from a word that means "yearly." Some plants,
as you learned when we were talking of the carrot,
142 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
live through two years, and these are called bien-
nials, for bi means "two."
But other plants live much longer; their stems
last from year to year, and such plants are called
perennials. Per means "through," so you see the
word means that these plants have stems that live
through a period of years.
But this is not the only way in which plants get
their names from the kind of stem they may have.
Did you ever think of the difference between a
shrub and a tree? Both are perennials, both have
woody stems. The tree is larger, that is, it has a
larger stem, and this stem does not divide for some
distance above the ground. The shrub not only
is smaller than a tree, but it divides into branches
either at the ground or at a very short distance
above it. Herbs may have either annual or peren-
nial roots, but they have annual stems, and these
stems are not woody. You will enjoy making lists
of trees, shrubs and herbs, of annuals, biennials
and perennials, and you will remember when you
do so that these names are given plants because
of the kind of stem they have.
In what direction does a stem grow? Up, do you
say? That is very often true, but not always.
If you plant a grain of corn in the ground, it will
send up a stem that grows tall and straight, and
that stands by itself almost as steadily as a soldier.
Wheat and oats, while not as strong as corn, will
stand straight and alone. So it is with many other
plants that you can name.
The pea vine is not like the corn. It cannot
stand alone. It creeps along the ground until it
comes to some other plant, a pole, a fence, or some-
PLANTS AND THEIR STEMS 143
thing which will hold it, and then it begins to
climb, by throwing our a leafless threadlike branch,
which we call a tendril. This is quite straight at
first, and reaches out until it touches some object
that will support it. Then it begins to coil around
the support, taking the shape of a spring. You
can see at once what a fine "hold fast" such a
tendril makes, for the coils "give" and stretch and
yet they keep a firm hold on the support. Grape
vines send out tendrils much like those of the pea.
Can you find other stems that help their mother
plant in just the same way?
Some stems, unable because of their great length
to hold themselves erect, twine around the support,
instead of making tendrils. The hop vine, so com-
mon in some parts of the country, is one of these,
and the queer thing about the hop is that it always
twines in the direction of the sun, and no training
will make it do otherwise. The bindweeds, or, as you
may call them, the wild morning-glories, twine about
the support, also, but they twist against the sun.
Our woodbine grows tendrils, but these do not
twine around wires or other supports. When they
reach the wall on which the vine is growing, each
little tendril end flattens out into a sort of suction
cup, and this clings fast to the wall.
Some plants, like the strawberry, have stems
that run along the ground, and at a little distance
from the mother plant send down roots, from which
new plants come. There is another very common
plant that we all love which has a stem like this.
If you look for it, you will probably find it at home
in your lawn, though you perhaps did not know
before that white clover has a stem of this kind.
144 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Certain plants with stems too weak to stand
erect find yet another way of support. You find a
good example of them in the water lily. You know
how long the stems of these lilies are, and yet how
weak they seem as soon as they are taken from
the water. What kept them standing before they
were gathered? Yes, it was the water; they floated
on it like cups.
But you will begin to think that the chief end
of the stem is to hold the plant in place, and this
is indeed a very great service. However, stems
have not finished their work when it is done. Many
of them wear armor to protect the plant from its
enemies. These enemies may be insects, or they
may be animals that like the fruit or the leaves of
the plant. The size and the kind of armor depend
on the enemy that must be kept away.
Let us suppose that ants or other tiny insects
are the enemy. Do you ask what harm these may
do? You know that many blossoms secrete in their
cups a sweet substance that you call nectar. Some
insects like this as well as does the bee. The bee,
however, is the only one that repays the flower
for the nectar she carries away, by doing a service
to the flower. What this service is we shall learn
a little later. Suppose now that ants and other
insects too small to be of benefit to the flower
came and ate all the nectar? When the bee came
for her share there might be none, and soon she
would stop coming at all! Then the flower would
indeed be quite helpless. To prevent this the
stems act like guarding soldiers, and send out some
barriers to the little would-be visitors, who would
take all and make no return.
PLANTS AND THEIR STEMS 145
In some plants this barrier is often a great num-
ber of stiff hairs. You will find many plants in
which these hairs point downward. To the little
insect that would crawl up the stem and suck the
sweet juice, such a forest of hairs must seem like
a vast and tangled wood.
You have seen mother put out sticky fly paper
to catch the dangerous housefly that would like
to get into the clean kitchen and eat of your food.
Probably you think sticky fly paper is the result
of a bright thought of some clever man or woman.
Long before man ever thought of such a thing
the little wild pink that grows so commonly in
dry and sandy soil throughout the Eastern States
had protected itself in this way. Its pink cups are
kept safely from robber insects by a sticky gummy
substance around each stem. You can see some-
thing of the same sort on the stems of mother's
petunias, and I think you will agree that such
stems play the part of plant protector very well
Different plants use different ways of protection.
Some of the stems grow prickles, like the rose or
the raspberry bushes. You can imagine that no
animal, even if very hungry, will try these plants
for a meal. You may have walked in an old pas-
ture some time, and seen how the cows and sheep
nibble all around the brier bushes, but take pains
to keep far enough away to avoid being scratched
by the pricks.
Some stems do not stop with mere prickles, but
grow thorns, which are not just on the skin of
the stem, but grow out of the stem itself. It has
been found that such thorns often disappear when
146 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
the plants are brought to our gardens and cul-
tivated. The wild apple, or crab, as it is some-
times called, is often thickly armed with very long
spikes. I once found a cluster of old crab trees on
the edge of a little forest. It was early in spring,
and the trees were a mass of the loveliest pink
bloom imaginable. But every branch of every tree,
big or little, was armed with very sharp thorns,
some of them two or three inches long. They
stuck out in every possible direction, and made
getting a few blossoms dangerous indeed. So you
can see these stems guarded the mother plant's
You will be interested in making lists of stems
that guard the plant, and of the ways in which
each does this important part of its work.
Stems have still another part to play in the life
of the plant. You remember that you found out
that the potato is really a stem, an underground
stem. What does such a stem do? Yes, it acts
like the storehouse roots and lays up in itself the
food which the plant has taken from the ground.
So much food does the potato store away that it
is quite possible, as you 4 very well know, to cut a
large potato into several parts, if you are careful
to have an "eye" on each part, and get a new plant
from each part. Such stems are called tubers.
Other stems that are underground growers are
often inclosed in layer after layer of scales or leaves.
Such stems are called bulbs. Lilies, the crocus, the
onion, the leek, are stems of this class. How many
others can you find or name?
So far we have been thinking about the uses of
the stem to the plant, and this is quite the correct
PLANTS AND THEIR STEMS 147
way to think of it. But it will be an interesting
study for you to try to discover in how many ways
man uses the stems of plants for himself. You
will find some are good for food. Out of others
we make baskets, chairs, clothes, curtains, canes,
fishing poles but I am not going to spoil your fun
by making the list any longer.
I am sure you will never again think that it is
only the stem, for you know now that the stem
is a very good helper in the plant life, even if it
seems less beautiful than the flower. The stem
ought to help us learn that every part, no matter
what it may be, has its special place and its own
work to do. This is the way God, in his wisdom,
has planned it all, and what seems very plain or
insignificant may be of greatest service, after all.
You remember that Paul tried to explain this to
the Corinthians. He used the body instead of the
plant to teach this very lesson. He said: "The
body is not one member, but many. . . . Those
members of the body which seem to be more feeble
are necessary. . . . The members should have the
same care one for another." Do you not think
the stems have had a fine story to tell and a fine
lesson for us to learn?
Something to do:
1. Make a list of biennial stems; of perennial stems;
of annual stems.
2. Make a list of shrubs; of trees; of herbs.
3. Find ten plants that guard their flowers or seeds
by the help of the stem. How is this done?
4. Write ten things you use every day that are made
148 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
5. How long a list of stems used for food can you make?
6. Write a guessing story about a stem, and read to
your classmates. Here is a sample: "I am a green stem,
and stand erect. The leaves grow from me, first, from
one side, and then, a distance farther up, from the other
side. Short, sharp spears grow all over me, with curved
points, all bending downward." Answer: A rose stem.
7. Think of the different stems of which you have
studied. Write out a list of your very own strong
stems, clinging stems, climbing stems, standing stems,
weak stems, and others that you will think of. What
is the best thing you can say of each kind of stem? As
a boy or a girl, which stem do you choose to be like?
To learn: i Thessalonians 5. 21; or i Corinthians 16. 13.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,
And herb for the service of man;
That he may bring forth food out of the earth.
Psalm 104. 14.
GREEN LEAF FACTORIES
You have learned that all plants have roots,
and you know what the roots do for the plant.
You have discovered that many plants have stems
to carry them up to the light, to support them,
protect them, or to serve as storehouses for food.
You know too that plants cannot live without
leaves. If you suppose for a minute that the dodder
is an exception to this rule, you recall that, though
the dodder does not put out its own leaves, it
uses the food prepared by the leaves of the plant
to which it has fastened itself.
You know that the watery food is carried up to
the leaves to be cooked by the sun. Perhaps you
have proved this by placing a white lily or a white
carnation in a glass of water to which you have
added red ink or green dye. You have proved by
experiment, too, that leaves throw off the extra
water by perspiring.
But the plant depends on the leaves for a supply
of food that is not brought up out of the ground,
but must be taken from the air. This food is
called carbon. Not all of the leaf is able to get this
food from the air, but certain very special cells
have this to do. In these cells there is a substance
that the wise men call chlorophyll; it is this that
gives the green color to leaves, and it is often spoken
pf as leaf green.
i5o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
When you are a little older you will no doubt
study chemistry, and then you will find out the
most fascinating and wonderful things about the
substances that make up the air we breathe in and
out of our lungs. Each substance is called a gas.
Two or more of these may join, and make a differ-
ent kind of gas. You know mother may take a
brown powder out of one of her tin cans, stir it in
milk, add some water, perhaps, and put in sugar.
You do not call the cooked mixture water or milk
or sugar or powder; you say it is cocoa. So when
the gases have joined, we do not call them by their
individual names, but give a new name to the
As I said, plants need carbon, and this is found
in the air, but it is joined very closely with another
gas called oxygen, and the two gases joined to-
gether are known as carbonic-acid gas. You can
guess how hard it would be to separate the sugar,
the water, the milk and the powdered cocoa from
the drink mother makes for you, and put them
back into their first forms. It is something like
that that must be done to the carbonic-acid gas if
the plants are to have the carbon they need.
But the chlorophyll, the leaf green, can do this
hard thing if it can have the right help. This is
not very hard to find, for the help is in the sun-
shine. The sunshine and leaf green, working
together, break up the carbonic-acid gas into carbon
and oxygen. Then the plant takes the carbon to
use, or to store away for food, and throws the
oxygen back into the air.
Now you can see why plants need sunshine for
good growth. The leaf green cannot get the needed
GREEN LEAF FACTORIES 151
carbon at night, or on cloudy days; it must have
the help of the sunshine.
Perhaps you wonder how a plant uses carbon
for food. It is very soon changed into starch, and
this is stored in the leaf as long as the leaf can keep
on making it. But when the sun sets, or goes
under a cloud, the leaf begins to digest the starch
and change it into sugar. Now you know starch
will not dissolve in water, but sugar will. When
the food has been changed to sugar, it is carried
to other parts of the plant. Here this and other
digested foods are combined with the living sub-
stance of the cells, to make sap, new cells, tissues
and substances like oil, resin, or wood, as the plant
You see, then, that all plant and animal life
depends on the sun, for there is no animal life that
does not depend, in the end, on plant life for its
own life. Those animals that form the food of other
animals are fed by plants. But plants cannot live
without the carbon, and this they cannot get with-
out the sunshine. It is like a long chain, is it not,
that reaches back to the sun? When you eat a
piece of bread or a fine red apple or a juicy lamb
chop, you are eating food that leaf green and the
sun made possible. But the sun does its work,
gives its heat, and sends out its strong light in
obedience to the laws of God, who placed it there
in the sky, and set it on its ceaseless journey. It
is God whom we thank for daily food and light and
I am sure you marvel at this wondrous plan by
which God has given all his creatures food and
life. But it is not only in big things that God has
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
shown us his power and his infinite skill; we can
read it in many ways that seem simpler, at least
Did you ever stop to think of the very great
numbers of leaf -patterns? Or did you ever look at
.a tree and think how well fitted to that tree its
own leaves and branch arrangement are? Here is
a good game to play with your imagination some
day; it will help you to open your eyes, and make
you see God's wisdom more clearly than ever
before. Remember first what leaves are for their
leaf green is to work with the sunshine in getting
the much-needed carbon for the plant. This means,
then does it not? that the leaves must be spread
out in the sunshine. Now, look at a pine tree and
study the way its leaves are arranged. Then, in
your mind, change the pine leaves to a maple tree,
and the maple leaves to a pine tree. Or, in your
imagination, put oak leaves on an elm tree, and
beech leaves on a maple tree or chestnut leaves
on an apple tree!
You may laugh at the idea of changing the
dresses on the trees, even in imagination, but to
GREEN LEAF FACTORIES 153
do so will help you to study the reason for the form
of the leaves and their arrangement. Ask yourself
a great many questions about the leaves. Why
does the horse-chestnut leaf have such a long stem
in some parts of the tree? Why do the young leaves
of the sunflower turn to the sun all day? Why
do so many trees have their leaves
arranged spirally round the stems?
Why does the thistle leaf grow such
spiny points? Why do some grasses
have such a sharp, cutting edge?
Why? Why? Why?
Of course you can answer the
question about the thistle and the TT ,.
- 1 , Horse Cnestnut
grasses with the cutting edge at
once, especially when you think about protecting
stems. Then you will wish to find other ways that
leaves have discovered for protecting their plant's
life. For example, why do the cattle seldom eat
the big green burdock leaves? Not altogether
because they do not like to get the burs in their
coats, I think!
Still another way in which leaves help the plant
is by acting as water distributors. If you never
thought of this, go to the garden and study the
way the plants carry their leaves, and you may
often learn very much about the root arrangement.
The canna, for one illustration, folds its leaves up
to form a sort of funnel, down which the rain water
runs. You will find the canna roots do not go far
from the center of the stem, and so they get the
water that the leaves shed. Another plant that
you have heard called Elephant's Ear, from its big
leaves, sends the water off in a great circle, and you
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
would find, by digging down, that most of the
roots reach out to this circle. How do the beet and
the radish arrange their leaves? What is the shape
of their roots?
The leaves of plants will not only tell you about
the roots that you cannot see, they will
tell you what sort of a stem belongs to the
plant. Some leaves, like corn and lilies, have
little veins running in straight lines, side by
side; they do not cross one another. Such
plants have stems like the corn, or the palm.
The woody fiber is in bundles all through
Grass Other leaves have their veins arranged in
a crisscross fashion; they seem to cross each other
very many times. Such leaves belong to the maple,
the oak, the geranium, and many others of our
common plants and trees. The stems of these
plants have the woody fiber arranged in rings
rather than in bundles. If you cut a round slice
from a cornstalk and another from a rosebush or a
GREEN LEAF FACTORIES
small branch of an elm, an oak or a maple, you can
easily prove this for yourself.
A fascinating part of leaf study has to do with
their shapes. What a
wonderful variety of
forms you find! Some
leaves are long and nar-
row. Some are very
deeply cut. Some are
in three parts, like the
clover. Others have
many little leaflets along
both sides of a stem.
Some are pointed, while
others are round. Some
have the stem fastened at the end, and others, like
the nasturtium, have the stem in the middle of the
leaf. Some leaves have smooth edges, others are
curved, or cut like saw teeth, or they may be just
irregular, without following any set pattern. Look
carefully at as many leaves as you can find and then
see how correctly you can draw them from memory.
Do this over and over, till you are able to reproduce
the leaves, and to recognize the tree from which
each comes, immediately. It will help you to see
clearly what you look at. It will make you love
leaves more than ever. Perhaps you will like to
make blue prints of leaves for your schoolroom
decorations when the real leaves have gone. This
will help you to see God's plan of order and beauty
for the world, for you will remember that nothing
came just by chance in all God's wonder world,
and nothing that he has made in the plant world
is more worthy of our study than the green leaves.
156 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
More than once the Bible compares the good man
to a healthy tree "whose leaf shall be green," or
"whose leaf doth not wither." Find these verses
and learn them, to help you remember the leaf's
lesson for you.
Something to do:
1. Secure some architect's or "blue-print" paper.
Open it only in a darkened room, and cut it in pieces
of any size you wish. Lay a piece on a board or slate
with the sensitive or colored side up. Arrange on this
one or more leaves in a pretty pattern. Cover this with
a sheet of glass and carry it all where the sun will shine
brightly on it. In a few minutes the paper that is not
covered by the leaves will turn a dark blue. When this
happens, remove the glass and leaves, and wash the
paper in cold running water till all the color has stopped
running from it. Dry on blotters or old paper. Arrange
in a book, or as a border for your schoolroom.
2. Make in your notebook a picture of a lily leaf, a
grass blade, or a corn leaf. How many other parallel-
veined leaves can you find?
3. Make a picture of a maple leaf, a geranium leaf,
or an apple leaf, showing the veining. Write five other
leaves that have veining of the same type.
4. Decorate a card with pressed leaves, a blue-print
leaf, or a drawing of a leaf. Write below the decoration
a verse from the Bible about leaves. You will find one
in Psalm i. Use the finished card as a gift to someone
whom you love.
To learn: Jeremiah 17. 7, 8.
And on this side of the river and on that was the tree
of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit
every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the
healing of the nations. Revelation 22. 2.
A FIELD DAISY AND ITS FAMILY
"JUST a common field daisy," do you say? You
know all about it? Then you may tell its story.
Yes, it is a common flower. It has a bright yellow
center, with white leaves around this. It grows
almost everywhere, and the farmer dislikes it grow-
ing in his fields because it is difficult to root out, once
it gets a good start, so careful farmers do not give it a
Now, let me ask you just one question about
the daisy. How many flowers did you pick when
you pulled a single daisy head from the green
stem? One, you say. It is not strange that you
think so, but you are quite wrong. I cannot tell
you how many flowers you did pick, for I have
no way of counting them accurately, but in that
one daisy head you have a very great many; But
do not feel ashamed that you did not know. Prob-
ably half of the grown-ups whom you meet would
say that you must be right. The little green cup
on the under side looks much like the leaves you
have been taught to call the sepals of the calyx,
and the ^yellow center seems very like the stamens.
But this cheery white and yellow head has deceived
you, as you will soon find out.
If you can get a magnifying glass, you can prove
a good part of what I am going to tell you for
yourself. If this is not possible, a book about
158 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
flowers may have some pictures of the daisy very
much enlarged. An encyclopaedia may also help
you. But without any of these, you can find out
something about the daisy for yourself, and this
is the best way to learn. What others tell you you
may soon forget, but when you discover a new
thing all by yourself, it is such fun that you will
remember it without trouble.
First, then, take one of the daisy heads, and
pull it apart. Look at one of the tiny yellow flowers "
that grow in the center. Yes, each tiny tube is
a flower. It may not look much as we are accus-
tomed to expect flowers to look, but it is a flower,
and, small as it is, it is a perfect flower, with both
stamens and pistil.
The little yellow flowers that are crowded to-
gether in the center of the daisy head are called
the disk flowers, because they make up the disk,
or wheel, in the center.
If, now, you look at one of the white leaves, you
will see a tiny tube at the base. This is the real
flower. It has a pistil but no stamens. The pollen
must be brought to it from the yellow disk flowers
by flies or other insects, if it is to produce seed.
The white leaves are called the ray flowers; you
can remember this name because these flowers
"ray" out from the center.
I am quite sure that you never before guessed
that the daisy had this interesting secret, and that
you are surprised to know what a number of flowers
are crowded together in this one head. It is rather
important that you should know about the daisy
and the family or order to which it belongs, for
it is the largest flower family in the world. The
A FIELD DAISY AND ITS FAMILY 159
name of the order is Composite, or the Composites.
You can see what a good name this is when you
stop to think that the heads are composed of many
little flowers growing together on a stem as if they
made up one flower. '
It is thought that one ninth of all the flowering
plants in the world belong to the Composites.
Each kind differs from another, just as boy cousins
or girl cousins may differ from one another. Just
as boys and girls may belong to the same family,
and yet one may have blue eyes and another brown,
one may have straight hair and another curly hair,
so the flower cousins may all be Composites, and
yet be of many forms and colors. Wherever you
go, you will find some of the Composites, so it is
well for you to learn as much about them as you
can. Look about you, and find a flower that you
are almost sure is a Composite.
Yes, you are quite right. The dandelion is a
Composite, and one of the most common. Does
it puzzle you that you can find no tube flowers?
The dandelion has only the ray, or strap, flowers,
as they are often called, since they look like tiny
straps. But each is a perfect little flower, with
stamen and pistil.
You have such well-kept gardens and lawns that
I am sure I cannot find in them another member
of the Composites that will show a third arrange-
ment of flowers. So I am going to ask you to
walk with me in fancy through a pasture where
the cows have been feeding every day for several
weeks. You see they have eaten the grass till it
is quite short. But here is something they seem
to have kept well away from it is the thistle,
160 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
whose leaves are armed for the very purpose of
keeping off anything that might make a meal of
it! Only the big bumble bees can reach it without
getting pricked. But as we wish very much to
inspect one of its pinkish, purple blooms, we will
risk a little scratching, and with a sharp knife we
will cut off one of the heads. Be careful in handling
this spiny bloom; and pull it apart. You will find,
as you look at it through the glass, that all the
flowers are tube flowers.
You have now the three ways in which the Com-
posites arrange their flowers in heads. There may
be disk or tube flowers in the center, with ray or
strap flowers arranged around them. Such a head
is found in the daisy. There may be a head in which
all the flowers are ray or strap flowers, like the
dandelion. There may be Composites with all
the flowers tube or disk flowers, like the thistle.
One of the flowers that has the all-tube arrange-
ment was very well known to our grandmothers.
I wonder how many of you have ever heard of it?
It is called thoroughwort. It grows in rather damp
places, and has large clusters of dull, white heads.
It was thought to be a most useful medicine, and
our grandmothers who lived in the country used
to gather great bunches of it in the summer and
fall, and hang them away in the attic to dry. Then
when people caught cold or grew feverish or seemed
to need a tonic, a bitter tea was made of the thor-
oughwort leaves, and the sick person drank it!
Perhaps your father or mother will be able to tell
of a time when they wished one Composite had not
lived near them, if they can recall this bitter tea!
One of the very common Composites that you
A FIELD DAISY AND ITS FAMILY 161
all know is the sunflower. It looks much like a
huge black-eyed Susan. The big brown center is
made up of tube flowers with stamens and pistil,
like those in the white daisy's yellow center. The
big yellow rays around the outside have neither
stamen nor pistil, and of course can produce no seed.
Yet they are the showiest part of the sunflower head,
though they are the first parts to wither, curl up,
and drop. Why is this, and of what use are these
rays to the plant, if they make no seeds? It is
just because they are showy that they are help-
ful. They hang out their bright yellow leaves
like so many waving flags to say to the bees and
butterflies that the sunflower nectar is ready.
Then the insects come to the feast, and play their
part in helping the flowers to make seeds, as we
shall learn soon. But after the seeds are formed,
the plant needs all its strength to send to the seeds
to make sure of strong and sturdy plants another
season. The plant cannot afford to send good
food to the yellow petals when they can no longer
help, and so the petals curl up and drop off.
Is not this a strange and wonderful plan for
dividing the plant's work of making seeds between
the ray and disk flowers? That's one reason why
the study of any of God's wonder works is so
interesting. You are always finding out new things
that show his wisdom and skill in planning and
caring for all things that he has made.
You will find many of the Composites in gar-
dens, on the hillsides and in the fields. Asters
blue and purple, dahlias, chrysanthemums, zinnas
and marigolds, tansy, artichokes, chickory, the
goldenrods, the yellow and white everlasting, all
162 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
belong to the Composites. Some of the heads are
very small and the separate flowers are so tiny
that you will need to take the greatest eare in
studying them, or you will make many a mistake.
But you have already found out enough about the
"common daisy" to be sure that it and other mem-
bers of its family have many interesting things to
tell you. Study them with patience. Watch for
the insect visitors that come to each of them, and
make lists of them. Does the dandelion have the
same visitors as the goldenrod? Do the insect
visitors that come to the sunflower help or harm
it? Do dahlias and chrysanthemums make seeds
to insure new plants, or do they provide some
other way for the plants of the next season? Try
to find the answers to these questions by your-
self, and ask a great many more. In this way you
will get your eyes wide open to the beauty and the
wonderful fitness of these many plants. You will
be ready to say that God's world is indeed a won-
der world, and you will thank him that he lets you
"think his thoughts after him," for you will say:
"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Something to do :
1. Look up at the library the story of the Shasta Daisy
and tell what Luther Burbank had to do with it.
2. Tell the story of Luther Burbank, and write a
short account of a useful thing he did.
3. Look for members of the Composite family in your
own yard, meadow, or park, and see how many you can
find and name, of those that grow wild.
4. How many Composites grow in your cultivated
A FIELD DAISY AND ITS FAMILY 163
To learn: Psalm 65. 9.
To read: "Daisies," a poem by Bliss Carmen.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word
of our God shall stand forever. Isaiah 40. 8.
BEES AND FLOWERS
. . . Study to be quiet, and to do your own business,
and to work with your hands. I Thessalonians 4. n.
WE have spoken several times about the visits
of bees and other insects to flowers for the sake
of getting the nectar that is hidden in the flower
cups. We have hinted that the insect performs
a service for the flower in return for this sweet juice.
It is time now to talk of this service, and to see
just how the flower is helped by the visits of bees,
moths, and other guests.
We must first go back to our story, of the flower
and its parts. What is the work of the stamens
and the pistils? You remember when the pollen
grains ripen in their little cases that these open,
and then the pollen grains fall on the moist top of
the pistil. They there begin to swell till the outer
case cracks open, and a tiny rootlike tube begins
to grow downward to the box in which the baby
seeds are packed away. The tube carries a bit of
life substance from the pollen to mingle with the
life substance hidden in a wee seed-that-is-to-be.
When this mingling has taken place the seed be-
gins to grow. This whole process is called fertili-
It has been found that better and stronger seeds
are produced when cross fertilization , takes place.
Cross fertilization happens when the pollen from
one flower falls on the pistil of another flower of
BEES AND FLOWERS 165
the same sort. Since flowers by themselves cannot
gain cross fertilization, some plan must be fol-
lowed by which the pollen can be taken from one
flower to another.
Writers quite often speak of flowers learning to
attract the bees and other insects, almost as if
flowers had minds, could see what help the insects
may be to them, and then went about getting this
help. Do you not think it is much more reason-
able to believe that God planned that the insects
and the flowers should help each other and carry
out together the work he has for them to do?
How do insects help in the fertilization of flowers?
I think you have already guessed the answer, in
part at least. They come to the flower for nectar;
they get their wings and feet dusted with the yellow
pollen; they fly to another flower, and in alighting
on that, they scatter grains of pollen on the moist
pistil top, and cross fertilization has been accom-
plished. This is the whole story in a word.
But there are many points that have been left
out. In the first place, how do bees and butter-
flies and other helper insects know that the nectar
feast is ready for them? If you were to pass along
a road near an apple orchard in full bloom, how
would you know that the trees were blossoming?
Yes, both your nose and your eyes would tell you!
Some people think ' most ' insects' do not see very
far, and are chiefly attracted to flowers because of
their fragrance. Others believe that the gay petals
of apple and cherry and peach blooms and of scores
of other flowers are like banners hung out to tell
the insects that flower-land goodies are waiting
for them. At any rate, the insects seem never to
i66 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
make a mistake in the time. They accept the
invitation of the flowers; they come and sip the
nectar; they carry away some of the pollen, and
scatter at least a part of it on the next flower they
It is quite necessary that the pollen of any flower
should be carried to the pistil of a flower of the
same kind. If the pollen of a pear bloom should
be carried to the pistil of an elm or a maple tree
bloom, neither pear, nor maple, nor elm seeds would
result. The pollen must be carried to another
You will remember that we found the bee goes
always to only one kind of flower as long as she can
find that flower. You see at once how much this
helps in the matter of fertilization. The bee is
not a wanderer from one kind of flower to another.
If she starts to gather nectar from apple blossoms,
she visits apple blossoms one after the other. If
she is making honey from white clover, white
clover is her choice as long as the clover lasts.
I am very sure this does not happen by mere
chance. Nor is it just a queer habit of the bee.
It is a part of God's plan for both bee and flower.
As we study this interesting story of cross ferti-
lization, and as we find new ways in which the
flower attracts the insects, as we say, tell yourself
over and over again that it all belongs to the wise
and careful provision of our heavenly Father for
his creation; he cares for bee and flower, for bird
and worm, for all things that he has made, and in
his loving eye there is no great and no small.
In all God's great wonder world you will find
no more interesting story than those that are
BEES AND FLOWERS 167
written on many of our flowers for wide-awake
persons to read. Some of them are very simple
and easy; others are very hard indeed to make
out. Some flowers have hidden their secret so well
that the wisest students have to think long and
observe well before they can find them out.
If you would like to read one of the most inter-
esting stories, pluck an iris, or, as you may prefer
to call it, a blue flag, from your garden bed.
You will note that each flower has nine parts.
The three large lower parts blue, violet, or purple
are marked with white and yellow, and with
lines of darker purple. These lines are sometimes
called the "honey guide lines." Bees seem to
especially love blue and purple, and if you watch
your iris bed on a sunny day, you may be lucky
enough to see Madam Bee arrive at the door of
the blue flag in search of honey. Almost surely
you will see her alight on the top of the flower,
where three other petal-like parts curve out over
the first three. You might never guess it all by
yourself, but these three parts make up the pistil
of the flower. If your eyes are very sharp, you may
see that Madam Bee is well dusted with pollen.
Of course she cannot help scattering some of this
on the pistil. You will remember that she has
come to this iris from another iris. But where
did she find the pollen? You have seen none on
this flower. Watch the bee, and you see her follow
the honey guide lines and disappear into a curious
pocket. Lift the top of a pocket, where it curves
over, just below the third set of erect little parts.
You will find, cunningly tucked away, a slender
yellowish stamen, well supplied with golden pollen.
i68 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
It is so placed that the bee cannot possibly get
away without brushing off a part of it and carry-
ing it with her on back and legs. She flies off to
the next waiting pistil, and the cross fertilization
has been made! Is it not a clever plan?
The mountain laurel has a wonderful fertilization
plan. If you ever get a handful of the lovely pink-
and-white blossoms, make a careful study of the
way fertilization happens in this plant. Each
single flower cup of the large cluster in its pretty
circle of bright green leaves has a row of fairy
pockets, arranged like a belt around the cup. There
are always just ten pockets, one for each silvery
stamen. Of course you do not need to be told that
the treasure the stamens hide in their pockets is
the yellow gold of the pollen. Each stamen tip,
with its box of pollen, is snugly tucked into a pocket,
and there it stays till the pollen is ripe. Then the
pockets grow a little loose, and the stamens wait
for their helpful visitors to answer the gay invita-
tion of the blossoms. Soon they come, bee or moth
or butterfly. Of course they alight on the cup;
that is, in the very center of the stamens, whose
tips are still tucked in the pockets. But the instant
the stamens are touched, the most astonishing
thing happens, for S-N-A-P ! All the heads pop
out of the pockets, and a shower of yellow pollen
is sent flying in every direction. Some of it is lost,
but much of it falls on pistils outside of the cup
in which the pollen grew, and so once more cross
fertilization has been secured. If you are not
fortunate enough to see a bee or a butterfly in the
very act of helping the flower, you can see how
the plan works* by touching the stamens with a
BEES AND FLOWERS 169
straw or a pin, when they will snap as if a bee
had alighted on them.
Have you ever driven along , a country road in
the early evening, and seen the primrose getting
ready for her visitors? She wakes up when the
sun is low in the west. She decks herself in a bright
yellow gown, and sends out the sweetest perfume
to call the moths to her. But she hides her nectar
so far down in her cup that only the long-tongued
moths can reach it. If none of these happen to
come to her feast during the night, the primrose
will stay awake after the sun comes up, waiting
for a hungry humming-bird to come along for
breakfast and to carry off the pollen. The prim-
rose has another clever part to her plan. She has
many buds on her stalk, but she opens only one
at a time, so the moth or bird visitors are obliged
to carry the pollen to a flower on another stalk.
The columbine follows an interesting plan. You
know its odd shape, with the five little horns hang-
ing upside down on the stem. In the very tip of
each horn is stowed the sweet nectar. Can you
imagine a bee or a butterfly hanging head down
to get the sweets of the columbine? But there are
two helpers that find no trouble in doing so. Watch
and you will some day see that funny little acrobat,
the bumblebee, clinging with his strong legs to the
blossom, and drinking the nectar at his ease. He
seems to enjoy it very much. The humming bird
gets heir share almost as easily. But the strangest
part of the story is yet to come.
An Englishman proved by some well-planned
experiments that bees love blue. In Europe, where
the ruby- throat humming bird does not live, the
i7o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
columbine is more likely to be blue than red. In
America, many of the columbines are a bright
and dainty red. In this country ruby-throats are
common, and it has been shown that they love
red, and are almost sure to seek flowers of that
color rather than those of any other hue.
You will find other fertilization plans in the
wild flowers of wood and hill and field. The yucca,
or Spanish bayonet, that grows on the dry hillsides
of southwestern United States, has a story that
you will enjoy. It can be fertilized only by a little
night moth which enters the flower, not for the
sake of nectar, but to find a safe place in which
to lay its eggs. It stings one of the seed boxes,
and puts an egg in it. As it climbs out of the blos-
som, it brushes off pollen and carries it to a stigma.
The tiny grub, on hatching, eats a few seeds, but
so many have been fertilized that the plant can
well afford to spare some to feed the little worm.
Make lists of flowers and of the insects that come
to visit them. Perhaps you will find out a secret
Mother Nature has told no one else, and you may
help the whole world by doing so. There are many
things yet to learn, and it is only by watching and
experimenting that we may discover them. For
example, men tried for many years to grow Smyrna
figs in California, but the figs would not mature.
Finally it was found out that wild figs always grow
near Smyrna figs that have fruit. So wild fig trees
were at once planted in California with no better
results! Then it was discovered that a tiny insect
carries the pollen from the wild trees to the Smyrna
trees. So a quantity of these insects were brought
to California, and now there is no trouble in getting
BEES AND FLOWERS 171
a good crop of figs. Which of you will be the first
to discover such a useful secret as this?
You have learned enough of fertilization plans
to be sure that shape and color and fragrance of
flowers all have a meaning. Not one of them just
happened by a mere blind chance. Each little
petal, each tiny part of the plant, has something
important to do with God's work of clothing the
fields. How many times have you read in the
Bible that God clothes the grass of the field? Did
you know how minute and careful was his planning
for this? Did you know how wonderfully each
plan for one flower, one creature, fits into his plans
for all the others? If you should ever feel dis-
couraged about your own way or your own work,
or what you fear may be going to happen to you,
you need only say: "If God so clothe the grass
of the field, will he not much more clothe me?"
It was of this that Jesus was thinking when he said,
"Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not,
neither do they spin, yet . . . Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these." Is it
not a lovely and delightful lesson of faith and
trust in our Father that the flowers have for us?
Something to do:
1. Observe growing corn, and learn its fertilization plan.
2. On what helper do maples depend for fertilization?
3. How does the wild honeysuckle secure fertilization?
4. Find out the fertilization plan of the red clover.
5. Read i Peter i. 22b and Romans 12. IP. Do these
verses help you to remember how the flowers and the
insects work together to help each other? Would one
of the verses make a good motto for your class? Talk
172 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
it over with your mates and your teacher. Perhaps you
will like to print it in large letters, color it nicely with
water color or crayola, and hang it where all may see it.
To learn: i Thessalonians 4. n; or i Corinthians 10. 24-
To read: "Pedigree," a poem by Emily Dickinson; or
"Two Taverns," by Edward Mafkham.
DID you ever go to a flower show, and see the
great vases and baskets of roses or dahlias or
chrysanthemums? Perhaps you saw judges walk-
ing up and down, talking about the size, color, and
shape of the flowers, and finally tying to certain
flowers, with red or blue or gold ribbons, cards
that held the words, "First Award," "Second
This morning we are going to a great exhibit,
and we ourselves are to be the judges. Our spec-
imens will not be brought into a room for us to
look at, but each will be left in its own natural
place. Nor can we see all of them with our physical
eyes; we must sometimes use memory's eye, or
the mind's eye, and imagine the specimen to be
before us. Perhaps we shall use drawings or pic-
tures to help us a little.
Our exhibit will differ from an ordinary flower
show in one other way. Most judges can give
the first prize to but one specimen, and there is
often disappointment and perhaps hard feelings.
In our exhibit we may not all agree, but each of
us may make "First Award" exactly as we please,
and no one will be treated unfairly, and no one
will be hurt. Are you all ready to start? You
wish first to know what is to make up the exhibit?
What could possibly make a finer one than trees?
Get out all the pictures, the drawings, the photo-
174 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
graphs, and the descriptions of trees that you can
find, and we will begin.
Now, just as the judges in most flower shows
look at the flowers in different ways, we will think
of our trees in different ways. For instance, a
flower may get first prize because it is the largest
or the smallest; it may be of any size, but of very
perfect form; its color may be unusually fine. For
any one of these reasons the coveted first prize
may be given.
In the same way, we will think of trees and vote
first prize to certain ones as our favorites for dif-
ferent reasons. In the first place, what tree do you
like the best of all? How fast the answers come,
and how different they are!
Our little Japanese friends vote first for the
cherry tree, with its lovely bloom. Our Indian
boys and girls think of the birch tree that gives
them the graceful and dainty canoe, and, of course,
they vote for that. Some of them and some of
us too think of the sugar maple, and of its gift
of sugar, syrup, and candy, and we vote for that
New England boys and girls think of their shady
streets and name the graceful elm the queen of
all trees, while California boys and girls at once
exclaim that the pepper tree, with its fern-like
leaves, its drooping branches, and its bright ber-
ries, is quite as lovely.
Southerners will vote for the magnolia, or the
cypress, or the palm. Boys who depend on the
willow for their annual supply of whistles will not
forget that tree! Many a farm lad will think first
of the white birch that gives him such a splendid
FRIENDLY TREES 175
swing, and will quote Robert Frost's lovely poem
to show that others agree with him. And what
boy will omit the fruit trees apple, pear, plum,
peach, cherry, and a dozen others? Or the nut
trees walnut, beech, butternut, hickory?
Still other children remind us of the evergreen
trees pine, larch, tamarack, fir and ask what
we should ever do without them for Christmas
trees. It really is very hard to decide which of
all the lovely and useful trees we like the best,
when there are so many favorites; and you are
very glad that each of you may give as many first
prizes as you wish!
Let me ask you to answer another award ques-
tion. At what season of the year are trees most
beautiful? "In the summertime, of course," I hear
some of you say. "Trees in summer make big
tents of shade. The birds build their nests in
them; the breezes play through them all day, and
the lovely green of their leaves is so restful and
"No, no," say other children. "Trees are pret-
tiest in the spring, when the young leaves are just
coming out; all the colors are so bright and pretty,
and it is then, too, that trees bloom, in pink and
white and purple. Spring is the prettiest time for
But the children from New England and Canada
protest at once: "No one who ever saw our forests in
the autumn will vote for any other season. Our trees
flame in yellow and red and browns, in every possi-
ble shade. People come for miles to see them then,
and talk about the wonder of the sight all their
176 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
You are all right, and yet I am going to vote
for the prettiest season as winter, when all the
leaves have gone, and the delicate tracery of the
branches shows up clearly, especially against a
You see, it is just as hard to decide when we
love trees best, as it is to decide which one is our
If we were to attempt to make our awards to
the tree that is most useful, we would find this
even more difficult, for each is used for many
different things and in many ways, according to
its character. We have spoken of the fruit and
nut trees, that help man by supplying him with
food. How long a list of food trees can you make?
Where does each grow? See if you can find a pic-
ture or make a drawing of each, and tell a little
of its help to man. If you can get a leaf and a
blossom, and mount them, with the picture, in a
book of the stories you write about the trees, you
will have a very interesting and worth-while col-
lection in a short time.
But even more important than the food obtained
from trees is the wood which they give, of which
we make many of the articles necessary to our
daily comfort and pleasure. You could fill a book
with the list of things made of wood! You might
begin with the house in which you live, the school
which you attend, the floors on which you walk,
the autos in which you ride, the street cars, the
poles that hold the wires over which you talk,
the table from which you eat, some of the dishes
used in preparing your food. Even if your house
or your auto is not made entirely of wood, .wood
FRIENDLY TREES 177
is used in them. And when you begin to count
up the small things made of wood boxes, brush
backs, spools for thread, spoons, musical instru-
ments, furniture to name only the first ones that
come to mind you can see how much we depend
on wood for things of everyday use. Suppose that
you try not merely to make the list of wooden
articles longer but to discover what kind of wood
is used to make each article, and why. You will
learn a great many interesting stories in this. way,
and find many facts that will surprise and de-
But we have not begun to learn the uses of trees
when we have thought of them only as the source
of the wood supply. Perhaps the best way for us
to discover just what purposes trees do serve is
to visit a land where there are no trees; where,
through ignorance or accident or greed, the trees
have all been cut off, and the land is left quite bare.
We may find a treeless country in many parts
of China. Have you not often read or heard of
the destructive floods in that country, and won-
dered why such happenings are so common? It
is largely because there are no trees to retain the
moisture and let it creep slowly down the slopes;
instead it runs off quickly, and floods the valleys,
washes away the growing crops and often sweeps
away whole villages. Another harm also results,
since streams that vary so much as to the amount
of water they carry at different seasons are less
useful for manufacturing and commerce, as well
as for water supply.
You may find in books at the library descrip-
tions of a flood that did much damage when, in
178 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
May, 1889, the dam across Conemaugh Lake broke, and
a great volume of water swept down through the valley
and destroyed the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
The flood of waters that caused the dam to give way
was partly the result of cutting off the trees on the
mountain slopes above the town. When the hot spring
suns came, the snows on the slopes were not pro-
tected by the trees, and so they melted very fast.
The water thus filled the river which ran down with
force enough to break the dam, and carry off most of
Trees also serve a great purpose by holding soil
on the slopes. As the roots grow and entangle
themselves in the soil they bind it and prevent its
being washed away. Where forests have been
carelessly stripped from the hills, it has sometimes
happened that the rich soil deposited in part by
the trees themselves, through their falling leaves,
soil that it has taken many, many years to make,
has been washed away in a few seasons. The result
has been that the land has been turned into what
is little better than a desert.
On the other hand, where binding grasses have
been planted along the seashore or along lake
shores where shifting sand dunes are the rule, land
has been made through the deposit of still more
sand. Then trees have been planted, and they
have helped the grasses in their work of holding
the soil, till in the course of a few years land that
is not only usable, but valuable, has been formed
largely through the help of the grasses and the
Have you ever gone into a forest or a small grove
and dug up a little of the soil under the trees?
FRIENDLY TREES 179
What was it like? Black and fine and rich! Per-
haps you carried home a bucket or a basket filled
with this rich soil to feed your favorite potted
plant. Did you stop to think why the soil was so
rich? Yes, it was just because for many years
the trees had been casting their leaves on the ground,
and these had turned into soil. If you thought to
look when you were digging up the fine, black
earth, you probably noticed that on the top were
the loose, dry leaves; under these were leaves that
were partly decayed. Next you found a dark soil,
the leaf mold, and I am sure that you found in the
layer just below this a soil not quite so dark, but
showing plainly that some of the leaf mold had
trickled down into it. You were reading a page
from the story of the tree's work for the world,
and you thought it a very interesting story, as
indeed it is!
Of course you have thought of the importance
of trees as homes for our other friends and neigh-
bors, birds and beasts of the forest. You know too
that trees help, just as plants help, to keep the
air pure by taking out of it that gas carbonic acid
gas that is so harmful to us, and I am sure you
will think that all together the trees play such an
important part in the general plan of God's won-
der world that nothing more is necessary. There
is one other work that trees carry so quietly that
you may overlook or forget it altogether, and yet
it is so useful that you will be glad to know of it.
You remember your experiment to show that
leaves take up water, and the other experiment
to show that leaves perspire, or throw water out
of their pores, You found this true in the case of
i8o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
all the plants you tried, and so you think it quite
safe to say it is true concerning all plants. But
compare the amount of such work that all of the
plants in a region could do with what might be
done by the trees. Remember, too, that the trees
send their great roots down below the surface to
the waters that lie far beyond the reach of plants,
and you can quickly guess that the work of the
trees in bringing the water from the earth to the
air is very great.
Experiment with a few cuttings in a glass of
water. Place beside this glass another in which
there are no cuttings, and see how much more
rapidly the water disappears from the glass with
the cuttings. If a few green sprays can do this,
do you not see that land covered with trees will
give far more moisture than land covered by water?
It has been said that a large elm tree will give off
more water vapor in a given time than the largest
steam boiler in use, kept constantly boiling for the
same length of time.
By this time you are ready to say that trees are
among the most beautiful things God ever created.
More than that, you think them to be numbered
among his most useful gifts. You are not surprised
that when the psalmist wished to tell what a good
man was like, he compared him to a splendid tree
growing by a river, with fruitful boughs and fresh,
green leaves, for you can think of no finer thing
in the plant world than a great tree. From trees
you get many a worth-while lesson. If you are
likely to be boastful, you go to Jotham's clever
fable of the trees, and decide that you will not be
v a silly bramble. Or if you are discontented and
FRIENDLY TREES 181
think you would rather fill some other place than
the one that has been given you, you will remember
what the vine and the olive and the fig replied,
in the same fable, when the kingship was offered
Most of all, you will remember what Jesus said
about trees "each tree is known by its own fruit."
A tree in this respect is just like a child "Even a
child maketh himself known by his doings." Since,
then, a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit, is
it not very important that we not only plant good
trees, but good lives? that we make sure that we
are "trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah,"
so that pur Father may "be glorified"?
Something to do:
1. Plant a seed of a tree maple, elm, walnut, or
peach. Watch the growth of the plant for a season,
and write about it in your book.
2. Plan for an Arbor Day with your group, and plant
some trees in a place that needs shade.
3. Read the story of a Chinese boy who tried to keep
an Arbor Day; it is called "The Honorable Crimson Tree."
4. Draw a picture or take a photograph of the five
most beautiful trees in your community. Arrange these
pictures as nicely as you can, together with those that
your classmates make. Have an exhibition on Tree Day,
and ask all your friends to come and see them. Votes
may be cast for the best pictures, and these may be
marked with gold stars.
5. Learn to identify all the trees in your neighborhood,
To read: "Trees," a poem by Joyce Kilmer.
To learn: Psalm i. 3; or Jeremiah 17. 7, 8,
i8 2 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree:
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of Jehovah;
They shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and green.
Psalm 92. 12-14.
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS
IN our last lesson we talked of the. many uses
of trees, and came to the conclusion that it would
be a sad and dreary world without their shade,
their beauty, and their service. But just because
trees are so useful, and often because trees have
been so plentiful that it has seemed we had many
more than we could ever use, man has been care-
less and wasteful with them. In addition to this,
all trees have many enemies that are always ready
to harm and destroy them. If we are to keep our
beautiful trees, we must learn how to protect them,
how to help them fight their enemies, how to use
them without needless waste, and how to make
certain that other trees shall take the place of
those that we cut down.
Inez McFee, in her delightful Tree Book, which
I hope every one of you will read some day, says,
"A tree never dies of old age." She shows why
this is true, and then tells of some of the enemies
that trees have to fight, and of ways in which boys
and girls may help. How many tree enemies have
Orchard growers in States where snow falls are
often much concerned about their young fruit trees,
and take care that they shall not be "girdled"
when the blanket of snow cuts off the food supply
from the field mice. When the mice find their
stores running low, or when they wish a change
184 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
in diet, they "girdle" the young trees having tender
bark; that is, they eat the bark off all around the
tree. This generally kills the tree, as the growing
layer is either exposed or entirely destroyed. Por-
cupines may harm forest trees in the same fashion.
How may the trees, particularly the orchard trees,
be protected? One way is to tie a collar of tar
paper closely around each trunk, in the fall. The
mice do not like the taste of the tar, and will not
eat through it. If it is placed so close to the ground
that the little rodents cannot crawl under it, it
does the work well. A small orchard may be pro-
tected by tramping the snow close down to the
tree trunk, but where many trees are to be cared
for, this would mean far too much labor.
Far more harmful to trees than rodent enemies
are insect enemies. Some eat the leaves of the
trees; some bore into its growing tissue and destroy
this; others suck the juices that feed the tree.
Insect enemies are of many sorts. Each tree is
likely to have its own special enemy, an enemy that
prefers the juice, the leaves, or the bark of this
tree to those of any other in the forest.
You have noticed, perhaps, on the side of a plum
or a peach, a little moon-shaped mark, and have
wondered what made it. Was it caused, perhaps,
by the rubbing of the fruit against some rough
bough? No, it was made by an insect that punc-
tured the fruit to lay its egg in a tiny hole, and
the slit was made so that the growing fruit should
not close up the hole and break the egg. What
do you think of that for cleverness and foresight
on the part of the insect? Some fruits, when so
stung, will fall to the ground in a few days, and in
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS 185
a short time a whole army of insects will hatch
out and be ready shortly to attack the tree.
How often you have noticed, in the trees of the
forest, or in the shade trees along the road, a mass
of silvery-gray caught in the boughs. Sometimes
you have noted many black spots in the mass;
at other stages, you have seen that the whole mass
was full of wriggling worms, and you knew that
something must be done very quickly or the poor
tree would soon have no leaves left on its branches
at all. Perhaps you called the attention of some
grown-up to the matter, and you helped them soak
old rags in oil, and then watched while they burned
the nest out before the insects could spoil your tree.
This might be possible where you had but a few
trees to treat, but could not be carried on to any
great extent; and, besides, it is likely to injure
the tree almost as much as the worms themselves.
One enemy much dreaded by orchard owners is
called the San Jose scale. It is a very tiny creature
that you might think too small to be of any account
at all, but; like most insects, it multiplies with
remarkable rapidity, and does a vast amount of
damage. Once let a single family get started, and
it will not take long to destroy a whole orchard.
Frequently you may find on oaks and willows
little red-cheeked apples. At least you think at the
first they are apples, and perhaps at the second
look. Then you ask if old Mother Nature is play-
ing a trick on you, and you examine one^of these
"apples." If you cut it open, you will find a tiny
grub on the inside. An insect has laid its egg
months before on a leaf, which formed presently
into the "apple," or gall, as it is called. At the
i86 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
right season, the egg hatched into the larva, which
in due time would have eaten its way out had you
not cut open the gall. Galls of different sorts,
and made by different insects, are found on differ-
ent trees; and, of course, all are more or less harm-
ful to the tree.
There is still another kind of enemy that attacks
trees, that is known as fungus. Fungi are low
forms of vegetable life; they never make their own
leaf green, or chlorophyll, but must steal it. So
they fasten themselves to trees in many different
ways. Sometimes they attack the roots; other
times they enter through breaks in the bark, or
through wounds that have been caused by wind
or fire or animal. Fungi are of many sorts and
show themselves in many ways.
Have you ever found an apple that was marred
by rusty spots? These were made by a fungus that
attacks apples and spreads with great rapidity.
Another fungus sometimes attacks the leaves of
apple trees. Still another lives on pine trees, and
makes them quite useless for lumber, and soon
kills the tree. One such fungus needs the wild
currant or wild gooseberry bush to complete its
life circle, and the only way to save the pine trees
is to pull up these bushes. This would not be a
great; task in a small wood lot, but what can the
owner of a lot containing many acres do?
Here is one place where the government steps
in to help owners fight tree enemies. From State
or national headquarters, experts are sent out,
with a crew of helpers, perhaps five or six in num-
ber,- and these men proceed to search every foot
of the lot and to make absolutely certain that all
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS 187
bushes that will help the fungus to live are pulled
up and destroyed.
It is an interesting sight to see the men at such
work. Beginning at one corner, they walk along
a side of the lot to the opposite edge, each man
at arm's length from the next man, and a young
boy on the very outside. As a man finds a bush,
he pulls it up. The boy carries, slung over his
shoulder you never would guess what he carries! -
a bag full of scraps of torn paper! Every few feet,
as they advance he sticks a bit of paper on the
end of bush or twig. Then when the row of workers
reaches the side of the lot, and are ready to turn
back, they follow the little scraps, as a guide to
make sure they are not skipping any part of the
lot in their search for bushes that may serve as
the host for the destructive fungus.
This is only one way in which the government
helps to save the trees by fighting their enemies.
Some States, have spent millions of dollars in fight-
ing a single pest. The national government keeps
up four well-equipped stations through which all
new plants that are being brought into this country
must pass, in order to make sure that they will
become good plant citizens. Watch is constantly
being kept on fruits and other vegetable products
of foreign countries to make sure that no harmful
enemy is coming in along with them. Ask your
teacher or your librarian to find out why lemons
and grapes from Italy were recently shut out.
Study the trees of your own section, and if you
discover they have enemies that are harming them,
write to the Bureau of Agriculture or to the Forest
Service in Washington, D. C., for directions as
i88 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
to how you may help, for this is another way in
which the government is working. Wise men study
the tree enemies and how to get rid of them. They
write clear and simple accounts of what they find
out, and the government prints these. Then,
people who wish to drive out these harmful insects
and other enemies may have the printed matter
for the asking. There is much that wide-awake
boys and girls may do to help in keeping down or
destroying many of the tree enemies, and in thus
playing the part of good American citizens. Watch
for the way in which you can do so most surely, and
you will have an interesting and happy time in it all.
Perhaps you are beginning to wonder how trees
ever get a start, or how it happens that we ever
have a forest when there are so many enemies
that work against the trees. You may wonder
still more when I tell that the most powerful and
the most dreaded enemy of the forest is not an
insect army, but fire. Every year fire destroys
many trees, or injures them so much that they are
not only quite useless but become a positive danger.
More than this, the fire kills the young trees that
might grow into a new forest, if the old trees were
merely cut out and carried away. The fire, too,
burns up the forest floor covering, exposes the soil
to the washing away effect of the rains, and spreads
ruin and desolation wherever it goes.
How do such destructive forest fires get started?
Some of them undoubtedly are set by lightning.
Many more are set by careless campers or pic-
nickers. A few are set deliberately by men who
wish to clear the ground for grazing, or to make
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS
In the forested regions of our country the gov-
ernment now keeps up a forest care or survey,
and the forest rangers, during the dry season par-
ticularly, are on the watch for fire. If, from their
lookouts, they discover smoke or other signs of
a fire, they signal for help, and start a vigorous
fight against the fire. This often results in great
saving of trees and money; the life and work of a
forest ranger are full of interest and excitement,
(By Arthur Newton Pack. By permission of Nature Magazine, July, 1923)
How MANY FIRES ARE STARTED
and you will enjoy reading about them in books
that you may get from the library.
Boys and girls are not likely to be called on to
fight a forest fire, but there is scarcely one who
may not do something better than fighting a fire
each may help to prevent a fire. When you
make a camp fire, be sure it is a small one, in a
cleared space, where no dead or dry leaves will
permit it to spread. Most of all, when you have
finished with it, be sure it is out, thoroughly out,
before you leave the place. If you can pour a few
buckets of water over the embers, it will give you
a comfortable feeling of safety every time you
think of it after you have gone!
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
There is still another way in which boys and
girls may help, and this is such a delightful way
that I am sure you will all be ready to start at
once. Of course you know that I am thinking
of planting trees. You do this in school on Arbor
Day, but you do not need to wait for this special
day to come once a year; you may keep your own
Arbor Day whenever you wish. Find out what
trees grow best in your vicinity; talk it over in
your class, with your mates, your teachers, your
parents. Lay plans for a beautiful, tree-lined town,
and then make a start as soon as you can. Some
trees grow quite well from seeds. In California
it does not take long for the toyon, the beautiful
.California holly, to grow from seed into a good-
sized tree; and there is this added pleasure in
having one on your street, or in your yard birds
love its red berries and will come in numbers to
feast on them as soon as the tree is old enough to bear.
Would you not like to ride along a road on either
side of which fine nut or fruit trees grew, with their
silent invitations to eat of their good things? Why
would it not be a good idea to plant such trees,
for shade, for beauty, and for use, along our high-
ways? Perhaps you can start the fashion in your
town, and I am sure many people will follow it.
There are so many points of interest about trees
that whole books might be written and still all
the story would not be told. But you will wish
to know that trees themselves write stories, and
many men have read them. In a little book by
Mr. Mills you will find the fascinating tale of how
he read the life history of a pine that had lived
for more than a thousand years. To tell the story
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS
here would spoil it for you, but you can imagine
how the tree told its story, though there was more
than one surprise in it, even for one who ' knew
trees as well as did Mr. Mills. Try reading a tree's
history yourself some day. If you can go into
the woods, you may be able to find the stump of
If this section of tree in Yosemite Park could speak it could tell of
historical events for nearly a thousand years.
1. A. D. 923.
2. 1066 Battle of Hastings.
3. 1215 Magna Charta.
4. 1492 Discovery of America.
5. 1620 Landing of the Pilgrims.
6. 1776 Declaration of Independence.
7. 1860 Civil War.
a tree that has been cut but a short time. If you
live in a town, perhaps you can visit a sawmill,
and look at some of the logs that have been brought
.there to be cut into boards. You will see at once
that the log looks as if it were made up of rings.
Count them. Forty, fifty, perhaps as many as a
hundred. The tree has told you its age one ring
for every year. Perhaps the first rings are very
192 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
close together. This may mean that the little
tree had poor food. Here is a check or crack.
Perhaps a very cold winter made this, when the
frost cracked the tree at this point. Here the
circles are wider. There was a season with plenty
of rain. The rings on one side are wider. Prob-
ably the trees that grew near were cut away from
this side, and our tree was able to get more sun-
shine. The later rings may be much wider; our
tree had grown large and strong; it lifted its head
far above the others into the sun and air; it sent
down roots deep into the earth and brought up
plenty of food and water, and so made sturdy-
growth. Do you not think it will be fascinating
work to read the life history of a tree? How little
that tree knew that it was building into its very
fiber the story of what it was enduring and just
how it was growing. This is like our own lives,
as we go on from day to day, busy with work
and play, with study and fun. We do not think
much about what we are writing into our book
of life perhaps we think altogether too little.
But some day it will be quite finished, that writing;
our work will be done. You look at the tree,
ready for its service to man, and you say, "What
a noble tree!" So will people say of you, "What
a noble life!" if you follow God's plan for your
life, as the tree followed God's plan for its life, if
you do, as did the tree, and make the best of the
place where God has put you.
Something to do:
i. Write two things that boys and girls may do to
help preserve our forests.
FRUIT TREES AND FORESTS 193
2. Write a short story about the work of the forest
3. Find out what trees are spoken of most often in
the Bible, and tell where they were found.
4. Where are the oldest trees on the earth to-day to
be found? How old are they supposed to be?
5. Try to get a section of a tree, and study the rings.
Imagine that you are the tree, and tell your story to
6. Write to the United States Forest Service for instruc-
tions about keeping your trees free of insect pests, and
then follow directions.
7. How do "our feathered guardians" help in fighting
tree enemies? What ones are the best helpers? How
do they help ? (
8. Look in the Bible for stories of trees, and make a
Bible Tree Book.
To learn: Matthew 7. 17-20.
The trees of Jehovah are filled with moisture,
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
Where the birds make their nests.
Psalm 104. 16, 17a.
You have learned how leaf, stem, and root of
the plant all work together for the one purpose,
that of making good, strong seeds, not for the
sake of the seeds, but that new plants may be had
from season to season. You have learned what
is perhaps the most wonderful story in all God's
great wonder world the story of the mingling of
two bits of life substance, that of the pollen, and
that of the tiny ovule or seed in the seed box, from
which grows the new seed. Perhaps you think
the wonder story is all told, but I am sure you will
find it interesting to study for a short time the
kind of homes in which the little seeds grow.
You have seen your mother line a soft basket,
a cradle, or a baby carriage, with .blankets and
pillows for baby brother or baby sister, and you
have watched this little child grow, and grow
rather fast, till the basket or carriage was quite
too small. And, of course, you know how very
soon a baby grows too big for the little clothes
that fit so well in the beginning. As for yourself,
you can hardly watch yourself grow, but if you
will try to put on a dress or a hat or a pair of shoes
that you wore last year, you will find it quite im-
possible. You probably know that mother is kept
busy getting new clothes ready for you to wear
because you outgrow your old ones so fast! That
is just what healthy boys and girls are expected
SEED HOMES 195
to do to grow so well and so fast that no clothes
fit them for a very long time.
Healthy seeds are much like healthy boys and
girls they grow very fast indeed. But they are
not like boys and girls in this way: they do not
put aside old clothes for new, and they stay in
their cradles till they are quite grown up and ready
to take care of themselves! Imagine boys and
girls staying in a cradle or a baby carriage till they
were grown into men and women! You say you
think they would be pretty poor men and women,
and you are right. This is another way in which
seeds are not like boys and girls, for they would
have little- chance of growing into strong seeds if
they left their cradles before they were quite
How do seeds get new clothes, if they continue
to grow? By the simplest arrangement in the
world! Their clothes grow with them! Wouldn't
it be fun if your coats and your shoes and your
dresses should grow just as fast as you do, and
keep new and fresh all the time? Better than that,
wouldn't it be fine if your cradle or your house
just fitted your needs from the time you were a
tiny baby till you were ready to take your own
part in the world? Do you not agree that seed
clothes and seed boxes are wonderful?
Let us look at some of these seed homes. Sup-
pose you plant a common white bean in the moist
ground. Presently, after a few days of sunshine,
you will see two fat little leaves coming up through
the ground, and you may be inclined to say at
first that the whole bean has come up. I have even
known children who did not understand what
196 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
was going on to put these two fat beanlike leaves
under the ground again! But I am sure you know
that in the moist earth the bean swelled till the
tough outside skin burst, and then the fat leaves
pushed up, and will feed the baby plant till the
tiny roots have had a chance to get a good start.
Then the leaves that come next will be of a differ-
ent shape. They will come one after another till
you have a good-sized plant, and some morning
when you go to look at it you will find that it has
bloomed. How eagerly you will watch, and how
you will wish for very fine eyes to see the dusting
of the pollen on the sticky stigma tops! You can
hardly hope to see what is going on, but you will
know that the fertilization has taken place when
you see the pretty petals beginning to wither and
drop. Then you will note that the cradle of the
baby seeds is taking shape. What a queer cradle
it is! Long and narrow and green! But every
day it grows wider and thicker and longer. Pres-
ently you can feel, by running your fingers down
both sides of the green cradle, the baby seeds that
are tucked on the inside. You will see how very
firmly the cradle is tied to the mother plant. If
you break off a "pod," as we have come to call
cradles of this sort, and if you split it down on one
side and open it, you will see that each little seed,
which is green like the cradle at first, seems to be
tied to the cradle too. Do you suppose this is to
keep it from falling out? Not at all! It is through
this little tie that the baby seed gets its food from
the mother plant. You must remember that the
roots are pushing through the ground in search of
water, and foods of one sort and another; that
SEED HOMES 197
all these juices are being pumped up to the leaves
to be cooked in the sunshine, and that they are
being sent to the seeds to help them to grow. Even
the thick walls of the cradle are to help feed these
hungry little plant children in their snug cradle.
As the days go on, the seeds grow larger and
larger. The cradle walls grow thinner. The color
changes from green to yellow. After a time, the
little string-like fastening that held the seed in
its place in the cradle dries, and may disappear
entirely. The seed is grown. It needs no more
food. It is ready to start all over again, as soon
as it leaves its home. How it leaves home is another
story, and we will keep that for next time.
For another seed-home story, go to the tomato;
plant the seeds and wait for them to sprout. First
come up two long narrow straplike leaves, cun-
ningly folded in the little brown cap of the seed.
If you know the rough and very much cut leaves
of the tomato, you will never guess that these two
straight leaves belong at all. Like the first bean
leaves, they are for food for the baby plant. When
the tender little rootlets have made a start, and
the next leaves grow from the stem, you will find
them to be true tomato plant leaves. They grow
very fast, and after a time you see small yellow
blossoms on the plant. Again the wonderful story
of fertilization is carried out, and you will go to
your garden some fine morning to discover your
plant has several green, ribbed balls where the
yellow blossoms had been a day or two before.
These are baby tomatoes. As the plant drinks
in food and sends it to the growing tomatoes,
these grow too. Presently they begin to change
ig8 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
color, and after spending a few short weeks on the
mother plant in the warm sunshine, they become
a brilliant red, and you say the tomatoes are ripe!
You cut them and take them to the kitchen to be
made into a delicious salad or a soup. Do you
ever stop to think that the tomato is just a juicy
cradle, not for one seed, but for many? If you
had cut a green tomato, you might have seen on
its walls the tiny baby seeds, wearing, as seems
quite proper for babies, nice little white dresses.
As the tomato ripened, the seeds grew, and their
dresses grew at the same time. Like the beans,
the seeds were attached to the cradle walls by
tiny fastenings through which the food that was
to make them grow was sent to them. When such
a connection is no longer needed, it disappears
almost or quite entirely, so that you may never
have noticed it in the ripe tomato, but you will
be interested in looking for it in the green fruit.
Another garden cradle holds the baby seeds in
quite a different fashion. You might say that
each seed stands on its one toe, and this plant
not only has many cradles, but every cradle cares
for dozens and dozens of children. The plant is
a regular Old Woman- who-lived-in-a-shoe among the
plants! But she knows exactly what to do! She
too has a cradle that grows as the babies grow.
She arranges the children in nice, orderly rows
and wraps the entire cradle around with a fine
fiber as soft as satin. Layer after layer of this
covers the babies, each layer being a bit tougher
and coarser than the one just below it. As the
baby seeds grow, the covers grow and stretch,
till the mother plant knows that the babies are
SEED HOMES 199
almost ready to look after themselves. Then the
covers stop growing, and begin to turn from a
lovely silvery green to a soft yellow. They would
become a golden yellow if they were allowed to
stay with the mother plant till they were quite
ripe, but some morning the gardener goes up and
down among the plants, or father takes a look at
them, and says: "The green corn is ready to cut!"
How you do enjoy the sweet, juicy ears! But
you lay the cradle itself aside; you think that is
only the cob! Next time, stop long enough to find
the places on it where the babies tucked their
toes in, and sent down from each toe the wee tube
through which the food juices came to the growing
baby. If they had not done so, you would have
had no corn for dinner. What is of far greater
importance from the plant's point of view, there
would have been no seeds.
There is a very common garden plant of which
you have all eaten, and I am sure many of you
have seen its blossom, but it is quite probable that
you have never seen its seed. Perhaps you will
like to watch for them when next you grow a garden.
You know that when we wish to raise a crop of
potatoes we cut the potatoes, taking care to leave
on each piece an "eye," or one of the little scars
that mark potatoes. From each eye will come a
root, and when the plant is well grown, you may
have noticed the very pretty white blossoms. Many
times these blossoms do just what blossoms are
supposed to do they produce seed. But we
seldom think of the seed cases, or "potato balls,"
as they are sometimes called, for the crop of potatoes
in the ground is what we care for most. Yet all
200 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
new varieties of potatoes come from the seeds,
and it is interesting to plant them and then watch
to see what sort of potatoes will come from seed.
For, strange as it may seem, there is no certainty
that potato plants grown from seed will be like
the mother plant, or, for that matter, like each
other! Perhaps some boy or girl who hears this
story of seed homes will keep sharp lookout for a
potato ball, plant the seeds, and get a new kind of
potato that will" be as famous as the Burbankor the
Early Rose. That would be worth while, would it not?
There are many more seed-home stories from the
garden than I can begin to tell. Besides, you wish
the fun of finding out some of them for yourselves,
do you not? And when you have learned all there
are in the garden, go to the trees. Discover the
twin cradles the maple makes for her babies, and
compare them with the queer little cradle of the
elm tree. Find some of the shiny brown cradles
of the oak, each snugly fitted into a cunning round
cap that holds the cradle to the twig until the
seed baby is well grown.
Then you will wish to tell someone the fairy
story of a wee white seed that wears a dress of
finest brown leather, which is as smooth as satin.
The ripe brown seeds are packed in cells, five in
all, whose walls are made of a thick tough material.
Outside of the cells, which are arranged in a pretty
star pattern, is a white juicy substance two, three,
or more inches thick, and covering this is another
layer of satin, red, yellow, or green as it may happen.
If anyone finds it hard to believe your fairy tale,
cut a ripe apple across the center and show him
the star-shaped core and the brown seeds lying inside!
SEED HOMES 201
The trees that bear cones will have a long and
fascinating story to tell. The pines, the firs, the
spruces, and others, each has its own pattern of
cradle, and each its own way of caring for the
baby seeds. See how many of them you can dis-
cover for yourself.
As for trees that give us nuts good for food,
there is no end to the interesting cradles to be
found among them. You can find out for yourselves
about the walnut, the pecan, the filbert, the beech-
nut, the chestnut, and the butternut. You may
think the cradle in which the Brazil nut lives is
the oddest of all and I must tell you about that.
Did you ever wonder how the queer, three-cornered
little brown nuts grow on the trees? Did they
ever make you think of the sections of an orange?
Perhaps you will not be surprised to learn that
each single nut, as you buy them in market, does
not grow all alone on the tree, but that many of
them are crowded close together, much like the
parts of an orange, and all are covered over with
a strong outer case. In this they rock and swing
in sun and wind till the seeds are fully grown.
Then down comes the cradle, babies and all!
The outer shell breaks with the fall, or is broken
open by nut gatherers, or by hungry monkeys.
But while monkeys may easily break open the
outer shell, it is far harder to crack the three-
cornered single shells, as the sharp edges are un-
pleasant. Do you not suppose that is just a part
of the plan to save all the seeds from being destroyed
and to make sure that new plants will come? You
will feel quite certain, I think, that the queer
shapes did not come by mere chance. There is
202 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
a wisdom back of the Brazil nut's plan, and back
of the plan of every seed home, such a wisdom
that we think it must have been a part of our
heavenly Father's thought for his world and the
creatures that live in it. It is easy to think of
God when we look at the great works he has done,
the sun and the stars, the sea, the clouds, great
mountains, and the mighty rivers. But we can
learn of him just as truly through learning his
plans for the wee things of life, the things that
we accept as a matter of course. Let us remember
that he has chosen the weak things of life to con-
found those that are mighty, and that in wisdom
has he made them all. Let us see his loving care
in the wonderful seed homes that he has provided,
and in this way we shall get one more glimpse of
his great wisdom and power.
Something to do:
1. Make a collection of seed homes pods, sails, pits,
nuts, and other kinds. See how prettily you can arrange
your collection, and how many new facts you can learn
by yourself about seed homes.
2. Find out why nuts have hard shells.
3. Discover what sort of seed homes the strawberry,
the red raspberry, and the currant have.
4. Examine the seed of the pin cherry, and tell what
it is like.
5. Imagine you are a chestnut, and write the story of
6. Describe the rose seed home.
To learn: Matthew 13. 31, 32.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest . . .
shall not cease. Genesis 8. 22.
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES
As you have studied the life of different plants,
and have found how the plant works to make strong
new seeds, to feed them, to care for them in snug
and comfortable cradles till they are able to look
after themselves, perhaps you have decided that
the plant's work was finished when the seeds were
ripe. Good seed, well ripened, is most surely the
chief aim of the growing plant, but many of them
act as if they were not entirely satisfied when this
is accomplished; they try to finish up the task by
helping their seed children find a new home.
Does this seem very strange to you? Do you
wonder why seeds need a home other than that of
the mother plant? And, most of all, do you wonder
how a plant that is rooted fast in the earth can
possibly help her seed children travel 'to a new place
to live? Let us see if we can find the answers to
any of these questions.
First, why should seeds need a new home? Sup-
pose that all seeds, as they ripened, fell around the
mother plant. What would happen? The mother
plant has been taking the food from
the earth to feed her growing children,
and so the ground cannot be as rich as
it once was; the food for new plants
would not be as good. Besides, if all
the seeds fell together on the ground,
some would choke out the others, even if Acorn seecT
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
they found room to begin a growth. The mother
plant would often be so tall and strong that her
leaves would cut off the sun from the baby plants,
and then they would soon die. So you can see that
it is quite important that some way should be found
to start the seeds growing in a new home. How
can the plant help in this?
Let us go back to the bean plant that we talked
of in our last lesson. As you are a careful gardener,
and have raised the beans for your table, you have
probably always gathered them a little before
they were "dead ripe"; that is, a little before they
were so ripe that the mother plant was sending
them off to find a new place in which to start.
If you leave a bean or two on the vine and watch
to see what will happen, you will some day dis-
cover that the pod has
divided; the two halves
have separated, and
each hangs, dry and
twisted, from the stem. The beans are no longer
fastened to the pod. If you look for them, you may
find them lying at some little distance from the
Poppy Seed Jumper
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 205
plant. What has happened? The bean pod, when it
dried, twisted so strongly and sharply that it shot
the beans out of their comfortable cradle, and
sent them flying a little distance away, and so
each little seed has a somewhat better chance of
getting its start in life. Peas send their seeds out
into the world in much the same way. We might
call them shooters, as they shoot their seeds out
of the pods.
Ask your librarian to help you find a descrip-
tion of another shooter that Henry Thoreau de-
scribes, the witch hazel. It
shoots its seeds, or nuts,
much farther than does the
bean or the pea, and Mr.
Dandelion Seed Thistle Seed
Milkweed Seed Flying Away
SEEDS How THEY TRAVEL AND WHY
Thoreau tells in a very interesting fashion of hearing
the little nuts drop on the floor during the night,
and of finding out what made the noise that
puzzled him so much at first. Can you find any
Some plants make air sailors of their seeds,
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Winged Maple Seed
and provide them sails and parachutes. The milk-
weed, the cottonwood tree, dandelion, the thistle,
are among the air sailors, and you will have an
interesting time in finding out for yourself just
how the flying machines of each kind of seed differ
from the others.
In the early summer you have often noticed the
fruits of the maple tree hanging
in clusters from the tree. Perhaps
you have called them "maple
keys," as many people do. It
would be more correct to call
them "maple sails," would it not?
For, if you watch till the seeds
are quite ripe in their twin cradles,
some breezy day, you will see
them go sailing off on the wind to
find a new home. The elm tree and the ash have
sailor children too, and you will be glad to hunt for
them, and to draw their pictures in
your notebook. How many other sail-
ors can you find among the seeds?
It is quite likely that you have
never seen a plant sending its children
off to take a real water sailing trip,
but you have seen and probably eaten
the fruit of the coconut. Many of
these trees grow quite close to the edge of the sea,
and when the fruit is ripe it may fall and bounce and
roll till it gets into the water. Then the wind and
the waves may carry it for a long distance, finally
washing it up on some shore far away from the
one where it began life. There it sends down its
shoots, and after a time a new coconut palm has
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 207
begun to take root, and grows, till it in turn sends
out its children.
Some plants use quite a different plan in sending
away their children. They wrap the seeds up in
the most attractive packages that fairly cry,
"Take me, take me!"
Have you never seen
such a seed package?
Why, certainly! Apples,
pears, peaches, plums,
apricots, oranges, and
many more, belong in this
list. You and your
friends eat the sweet and coconut seed Husk cut away
. , , , Showing Husk showing nut
luscious pulp that sur-
rounds the seed, and you seldom eat it under the
tree on which it grew. This means that you are
quite likely to throw the seed down in some spot far
away from the parent plant, where it will have a
better chance to grow. Perhaps you think the peach
is a native American, but it really came in the first
place from far-off Persia, and was carried so far, and
has found so many new homes, almost entirely because
its seed package has been so attractive to men
and women, boys and girls.
But notice another part of the plan it is only
the sweet and juicy pulp that you eat. The seed
itself is shut in a hard and often a very tough case
that you do not like at all, and that you carefully
avoid eating. The brown case of the apple seed
has an unpleasant taste. The pit of the peach
has a bitter oil that keeps it from being eaten,
and when the tender pulp has been used, you
throw the true seed aside.
208 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Some plants extend their invitations, not to men
and women, but to birds, and get a better chance
for a good start for their seeds in this way. One
kind of cedar shuts its seeds in bright-red berries
that attract the attention of the birds, who feed
upon them, carrying them away in their crops.
The seed itself is in a very hard shell that is not
ground up with the rest of the food, and so cannot
be digested, but is dropped by the birds, and the
new plant begins its life, perhaps miles from the
parent plant. The mistletoe, a plant that lives
. and grows on oaks, has a sticky material as a cover-
ing. When the birds eat the ripe berries, they
try to remove this from their bills after a meal,
and so they often help to plant the seeds on another
oak bough, the sticky material helping to hold
them in place till they have had time to send down
the roots that pierce the bark and suck the oak
Some plants get the help of the birds in another
way. The birds may alight in wet places and get
bits of mud caught on their feet. This mud may
contain many seeds; or perhaps the bird may again
alight on a weed or tree where the seeds are ready
to go, and these will get caught in the mud on the
bird's foot. This mud may dry and stick to the
foot for a long time, and the seeds may finally be
planted miles away from their first home. A great
English student once raised over eighty .plants
from seeds that he found in the bit of mud that
he took from the foot of a bird.
I suppose you might call these seeds travelers,
paying passengers, for at least those that have a
pulpy covering that is good for birds to eat have
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 209
paid their way. But there is a large class of seeds
that we shall have to call tramps. They steal rides
whenever and wherever they can. Perhaps this
is because they never could get anyone to give
them a ride! Have you ever gone for a walk in
the autumn and come back with your coat well
some o f these
You may call
them burs, or
Some of them
have hooks, and
some have barbs,
while others have
teeth with which
4-~ T, 4-^ , Bur Tramp Seed Bur Bract
tO hang tO OUr V (Enlarged)
dresses, to the
wool of a passing sheep, or the tail or the
thick coat of your dog, or the manes and tails -of
animals. Of course, as soon as we can get the
chance, we pick off these unpleasant things and
fling them on the ground, and we have done exactly
the best thing for them we have given them a
place for a new home. Be on the watch for these
fellows, and see how long a list of seed tramps
you can make.
Sometimes seed tramps are really quite terrible.
There is an African plant that has a way of fasten-
ing itself so firmly into the hair of animals that
it is said a lion will kill himself in his efforts to
tear the seed case from his skin. Another ugly
customer has made its way into California through
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Photograph by Maude A. Jumper, Shafter ^California. Shafter, Kern Company
BOY SCOUT TROOP No. i
One of the boys who helped to free the California roadways of
the troublesome puncture weed
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 211
a cargo of goods from a foreign country. Each
little seed has two very sharp and tough points,
about as big as a common carpet tack. They are
so arranged that no matter how the seed falls,
one of these points is always up. The points are
so tough that passing automobiles do not break
them. Quite the contrary! The point buries itself
in the rubber of the tire, and the seed is carried
off. In this way the dreadful plant has been widely
spread, and measures are now necessary to control
it and to banish it from the highways.
For a happier story of seeds seeking a new home,
you must read a delightful book by E. A. Mills,
Rocky Mountain Wonderland. He tells of watching
a forest fire one day, and of seeing, before the
smoke had died down, brown- winged seeds flut-
tering from the top of a burned tree. The lodge
pole pines have cones in which the seeds are sealed
by a sort of gum or wax. This had been melted
by the heat, so that the shut-in seeds were set
free, and came fluttering down to sow the burned-
over ground at the very first chance.
Do you not agree that it is a wonderful thing
that the fire that destroys the lodge pole pines is
exactly what is needed to sow the burned-over
ground with new seeds? But the perfect fitting
of the plan does not end there. Can you imagine
what sort of soil the little seeds like to grow in?
A soil that is cleared of other growth, and fertil-
ized by ashes!
Our human way of seeing things does not always
let us know quite so surely how the parts of God's
plans fit so wonderfully into one another, but it
helps very much to see this in even one single
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Photograph by Maude A. Jumper, Shafter .^California. Shatter, Kern. Company
BOY SCOUT TROOP No. i
One of the boys who helped to free the California roadways of
the troublesome puncture weed
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 211
a cargo of goods from a foreign country. Each
little seed has two very sharp and tough points,
about as big as a common carpet tack. They are
so arranged that no matter how the seed falls,
one of these points is always up. The points are
so tough that passing automobiles do not break
them. Quite the contrary! The point buries itself
in the rubber of the tire, and the seed is carried
off. In this way the dreadful plant has been widely
spread, and measures are now necessary to control
it and to banish it from the highways.
For a happier story of seeds seeking a new home,
you must read a delightful book by E. A. Mills,
Rocky Mountain Wonderland. He tells of watching
a forest fire one day, and of seeing, before the
smoke had died down, brown-winged seeds flut-
tering from the top of a burned tree. The lodge
pole pines have cones in which the seeds are sealed
by a sort of gum or wax. This had been melted
by the heat, so that the shut-in seeds were set
free, and came fluttering down to sow the burned-
over ground at the very first chance.
Do you not agree that it is a wonderful thing
that the fire that destroys the lodge pole pines is
exactly what is needed to sow the burned-over
ground with new seeds? But the perfect fitting
of the plan does not end there. Can you imagine
what sort of soil the little seeds like to grow in?
A soil that is cleared of other growth, and fertil-
ized by ashes!
Our human way of seeing things does not always
let us know quite so surely how the parts of God's
plans fit so wonderfully into one another, but it
helps very much to see this in even one single
212 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
case. We surely agree that the lives of boys and
girls are of much worth to the heavenly Father.
If he so carefully plans for the plant life, how much
more carefully must he plan for human life! Ought
we not to take heed to the finding out of these
plans? Then, like the tiny seeds, we must throw
down deep roots, send up strong plants, and bring
forth the best of fruit. Do you remember what
Jesus said about this? "Herein is my Father
glorified, that ye bear much fruit." "Apart from
me ye can do nothing."
You do not need to be told that the fruit of
which Jesus is speaking is what the Bible calls
the "fruits of the spirit." If this seems hard for
you to understand, remember that even a child
is known by his doings. Do you think that cheat-
ing in games or failing to play fair is a good fruit?
Or would you rather have a friend who is always
cheerful and helpful? Do you like your chum to
share with you? What other good fruits can you
Something to do:
1. Make a collection of seeds that travel because
they send out invitations for rides.
2. Tell your mother a story of the "tramp seeds."
3 . Find a Bible story about seeds and learn to tell it.
4. Find how the squirrels and chipmunks may help
seeds to get new homes.
5. Are the wild flowers in your community being
destroyed? Find out about it; discuss it with your
teacher and your classmates, and see if there is anything
you can do to help in the matter.
6. Help some seeds to find new homes by planting
those that will grow easily in some place where they
HOW SEEDS FIND NEW HOMES 213
will give pleasure by hiding an ugly fence or a bare bank.
7. Think of the boy or of the girl you like best to
play with. Why do you like this playfellow? Think
of things you do not like in yourself. For example,
quarreling, frowning, getting cross, wanting the best
of things for yourself. Perhaps it will help you to rule
a sheet of paper with a line running down the middle
At the top of one column you might print or draw a
thistle, and under this you may write the names of some
of the "thistle deeds," such as being selfish about the
best seat, the largest bit of candy, or something of the
sort. When you have pulled that thistle out of your
heart garden rub out the name on the paper !
At the top of the second column, write "Good Fruit."
Perhaps you will make this pretty with a picture. Under
this write all the kind and helpful deeds you see your
mates doing for a week. What a long, long list you will
To learn: Genesis i. n, 12.
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening with-
hold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall
prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall
be alike good. Ecclesiastes u. 6.
OUR DAILY BREAD
"COME, Don! Come, father!" called Ruth,
"Dinner is ready, and I have the loveliest surprise!"
Don followed his father into the dining room,
his bright eyes searching for the surprise. But he
said not a word at first. He sang with the others
the old Jerusalem grace, beginning
"God is great, and God is good,
And we thank him for this food."
But as soon as he was seated, he broke out with,
"I don't see any surprise!"
Then mother lifted a snowy napkin from the
bread tray, and with a proud smile disclosed a
loaf of fresh bread. What a brown crusty top it
had, and how good it smelled!
"Ruth's first loaf of bread!" she said.
"I made it all by myself!" said Ruth.
Don could scarcely wait till Ruth had received
father's praise for her work before he began slyly,
"But you just couldn't make a loaf of bread all
by yourself, Ruth."
"Why, Don Harris! I did indeed make it all
alone. Mother never touched it!" she said with
As Don continued to shake his head, his eyes
dancing with fun, she went on:
, "I measured the milk and the water and the
OUR DAILY BREAD 215
yeast and the salt and the flour, and put them all
in the mixer "
"And what about the flour?" demanded Don.
"I have not forgotten my primary teaching, if you
have) Miss Ruth! 'Back of the loaf the flour, and
back of the flour the grain'; don't you remember?"
" 'And back of the grain '; yes, I know what
you mean now, Don. I hadn't thought of it be-
fore," said Ruth.
"It's splendid bread," said father, helping him-
self to a piece; "I'm glad you made such a big loaf;
I'm glad too that you did not ask all the persons
who helped make it to come for dinner, for I sus-
pect there would be so many that there would not
be a crumb apiece for them."
"You'd have to begin with the errand boy who
brought the bag of flour to the kitchen door; then
there would be the grocer who keeps the store,
and his clerk who ordered the flour, and all the
men that ran the train on which it came to the
town, and the workmen who made the railroad "
Don was thoroughly enjoying himself as he gave
free rein to his imagination.
Ruth laughed as she pictured all these helpers
crowding into the dining room to share with her
her first loaf of bread.
"They all helped," she admitted, "but I'd rather
share it with those who helped the most the
people who raised the grain, and those who turned
the grain into flour. Who do you suppose they
were, father, and just where did our loaf come
"Perhaps the grain came from California or
Kansas or Minnesota; it may have come from any
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
of our great wheat-growing States. It may have
been raised in Canada; if the crop there was poor,
United States Department of Agriculture
(By permission of Nature Magazine, July, 1924)
WHEAT, THE KING OF CEREALS
it may have come from Europe or South America,"
"But with all the land we have, we are pretty
apt to grow in the United States what grain we
OUR DAILY BREAD 217
need for ourselves, and much more too, aren't we,
father?" asked Don.
"Yes, generally," agreed father. "I was merely
thinking of , a statement that I read the other day
that the harvest could be followed around the
world, month by month. We Americans are the
greatest wheat-eaters in the world, and we naturally
produce the most wheat."
"Do you remember the Englishman who visited
the United States when it was the fashion for
men to wear whiskers on the chin, and what he
said about us?" asked mother. "He wrote that
'Americans eat so much wheat that the spears,
or blades, or whatever you call them, grow out
under their chins.' "
Don and Ruth laughed merrily at this funny
picture, and Don asked:
"How much wheat do we actually eat every
"Two hundred and fifty loaves of bread for
every man, woman and child," answered mother,
promptly. "Father will tell you how many bushels
of wheat that means."
"Two hundred and fifty loaves!" gasped Ruth
in surprise. "That means I shall have to make
a thousand loaves for just our family. ' How much
wheat will that be, father?"
"You can make just about two hundred and
fifty loaves of bread from one barrel of flour,"
replied father. "It requires five bushels of wheat
to make a barrel of flour, and this is just about
the average amount of wheat eaten by every person
in the United States in a year."
."Some work ahead of you, if you are to use four
218 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
barrels of flour, and make a thousand loaves of
bread, you see," grinned Don at his sister. "But,
father, tell us more of the fellows who helped Ruth
make her first loaf."
"We must count, of course, the men who plowed
and sowed the wheat fields," said father. "Of course
this is mostly done now by tractors, but when I
was a boy such means had not yet been thought
out. I lived on a farm of two hundred acres, and
I plowed many a field, with two strong horses to
drag a steel plow. We thought a. great advance
had been made after the vast prairie farms came
under cultivation, and two, four, or six teams were
used on the plows."
"It was a wonderful sight to see plow after plow
following one another around a big field, turning
up the rich earth," said mother.
"It was, indeed," agreed father, "but the trac-
tors are both cheaper and easier, and this makes
it possible for even the poor people in America to
have good wheat bread on their tables every day,
in place of the black bread which many living in
lands less favored than ours must use."
"I'd like to see a field of ripe wheat, with the
wind blowing across it," said Don.
"It makes, a great picture," said father, "but
one that I like better is the cutting of the wheat.
Many an acre I have cut when I was a little
"With a reaping machine, I suppose?" asked Don.
"Yes," answered father, "though my grand-
father thought the day of the reaper would never
come. He had used a sickle. I remember that
one hung in the old attic at home. It must have
OUR DAILY BREAD 219
been quite like the sickle of Bible times. It was
a single curved knife, the cutting edge being on
the inside of the curve. The sickle had a short
wooden handle. The reaper grasped a handful of
the ripe stalks of grain in his left hand, and with
a swing of the sickle, cut them off and threw them
"I thought grandfather said he used to reap
with a cradle," said Don.
"So he did," answered father, "and he thought
that was a vast improvement over his father's
"How was it different from the sickle?" asked
"It had a long and slightly curved blade," an-
swered father, "shaped something like a scythe,
with several similarly curved arms of wood, arranged
at regular intervals above it. On the long wooden
handle were two pegs by which the reaper swung
it. It was better than the sickle because one could
cut the wheat much more rapidly, and then the
wheat, falling against the wooden arms, was laid
in orderly heaps on the ground, and so was much
easier to bind into sheaves."
"But wheat is cu,t to-day by reaping machines
altogether, isn't it?" asked Ruth.
"Yes," answered father, "but you must remember
this was not always so. It is not yet a hundred
years since the very first reaping machine was
tried out. Cyrus McCormick, a young farmer,
ran the first reaper on his own farm in 1831. After
that, Wood, Marsh, Osborne, and others added
improvements from time to time, till the old hand
cradle was banished from the farm forever."
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
OUR DAILY BREAD 221
"Then Ruth ought to ask all these men to share
her loaf, oughtn't she, father?" asked Don.
"Indeed she ought," smiled father. "And she
must not forget Deering, who made the first really
successful binding attachment for the reaper. There
had been binders before, but they required wire
to bind and tie the sheaves. Of course bits of this
found their way into the throats of the farmers'
cattle, and Deering worked till he learned how to
use twine in the binder, and save all the suffering
and loss that the wire caused."
"And we haven't said a word about the mill
men who ground the wheat, sifted and packed the
flour, and shipped it to us," added Ruth.
"And there were others who helped in making
the sugar, digging and refining the salt, and pre-
paring the yeast you used," said Don.
"I am thinking of another group of friends who
also helped," said mother, smiling, as she gathered
little heaps of the crumbs on the table cloth.
"The birds!" cried Ruth. "How did I ever
"And the plowmen earthworms!" laughed Don.
"And the horses! I am sure they helped some-
where in the process. Who knows but that the
beavers helped too, by building a meadow, long
ago, on which the wheat grew?"
"It is not impossible," said father.
Ruth laughed merrily. "What a funny dinner party
we would have had if all the people and all the crea-
tures that helped me make a loaf of bread had come!"
"And yet if any one of them had failed to do
his part, we might have had no bread for dinner,"
222 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Don looked a little sober at the thought.
"We could get on without pie, cake, and goodies
of that sort," he said, "though I should not like
it very well; but what ever would we do without
"We would be in a very bad way, would we
not?" agreed mother. "That is why people call
bread 'the staff of life.' It is our most important
food. Jesus was thinking of this when he taught
his friends and helpers how much they needed him.
He said they must depend on him for daily strength
just as they depended on bread as the chief part
of their daily food. He said: 'I am the bread of
life. I am the true bread, the bread your heavenly
Father gives you. The man that eats of me shall
never be hungry.' Of course you know he was
thinking of soul hunger, and meant that the per-
sons who follow in his ways shall be satisfied.
They who hunger after right ways and right liv-
ing shall get satisfaction."
"I did not know the Bible verses meant all of
that, mother," cried Ruth. "I will think of it
when I make my next loaf of bread. It will not
be just a loaf that I 'make all by myself!' "
"No, indeed!" said mother. "When you sing
in Sunday school
'Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more,'
you think of Jesus and what he has done for you;
and when you eat one of these firm, white slices
you may let it remind you of him and of all the
helpers whom God has set to work for one another
in his great wonder world."
OUR DAILY BREAD 223
Something to do:
1. Jesus talked one day to the Jews and to his friends
about being the Bread of Life. Find out what he said,
and what had happened the day before.
2. Trace from your geographies an outline map of
the world, and on a large sheet of paper make a harvest
calendar, and show that wheat is gathered in some part
of the world every month in the year.
3. Look for pictures of wheat fields, reapers, flour
mills, bakeries, loaves of bread, and other such pictures.
You will easily find them in the advertising pages of
magazines. Put them together to make an interesting
story of a loaf of bread.
4. Find and illustrate the verse that begins "Back of
the loaf is the snowy flour."
To learn: Psalm 81. 16; or Psalm 147. 14; or Psalm
To read or sing: The hymn, "Come, Ye Thankful People,
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that
cometh to me shall not hunger. My Father giveth you
the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God
is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth
life unto the world. John 6. 35, 32, 33.
OPEN your geographies to the map of Alaska.
On the western coast you will find a tiny black
dot marked "Nome." Put your right thumb on
this dot, and place your first finger on the smaller
dot on Norton Sound, which is marked "Shaklolik."
It is not far from one place to the other, is it? Not
far on a printed page, surely. Not very far, if you
were to travel from one point to the other in a
comfortable Pullman car. But suppose you had
to make the trip in a blizzard, with snow whirling
in a blinding mass about you, the wind blowing
at you as you have never even guessed the wind
could blow, and the thermometer marking such a
cold as you never knew could be, do you not think
that every one of the miles from Shaklolik to Nome
would stretch out till it seemed ten times as long
as it really is? Suppose, too, that your way of
travel is not by Pullman, and certainly not by
auto, but by dog sledge!
You may remember reading of the men who
took this journey, and their reason for doing it.
Early in the winter of 1925, a cry of distress reached
the United States from the city of Nome, the larg-
est city in a vast territory that reaches a thousand
miles to the east, and extends north to the arctic
circle. This was the pitiful message sent out by
the doctors -of Nome:
"Diphtheria has broken out, and we have used
all our anti- toxin. Send us more quickly!"
228 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
You probably know that diphtheria is a disease
that is dreaded anywhere, though much of its
fear has been removed since doctors have learned
to check it by the use of anti- toxin. In the cold
north, however, diphtheria is especially severe, and
so many of the people have died with it that it
is there called "the black death." Everyone knows
this, so you can guess that as soon as the message
was received, the precious anti-toxin was hurried
on its way as fast as steam could take it. But
the railway does not reach to Nome, so preparations
were started as quickly as possible to carry the
serum from the end of the railway to Nome.
"Of course," you say, "there were flying ma-
chines to hurry the medicine to the sick people
as fast as ever it could be taken." Indeed, there
were flying machines, and men ready to risk their
lives to get the serum through to Nome. But
the authorities said that the storm was far too
heavy for flying machines. The serum might be
entirely lost. A safer way must be found.
You know what way was chosen. You know
how all the world watched the brave struggle of
"Scotty" and "Balto" and their drivers to get the
precious medicine through in shortest possible
time. You have read of the storm, so thick that
once the team and driver passed through a village
without knowing it. You have read that only the
lead dog's keen sense of smell kept them all on
the trail when the blinding snow hid the way.
You have fairly danced with joy when you came
to the end of the tale, and you knew that the med-
icine arrived in time to stop the sickness and save
many lives, and you have looked at B alto's picture,
and wished you might throw your arms around
his neck and tell him you thought him the finest
dog that ever lived, for, without him and his good
(Drawn by Ralph O. Yardley, Stockton Record, Stockton, California)
MESSENGERS OF MERCY
Alaskan dogs that brought anti-toxin to save life
sense, perhaps the serum would never have reached
You may have heard how the dogs helped in
2 3 o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
finding the north pole. Admiral Peary was brave
and persistent, but he has said many times that
he never could have reached the north pole if he
had not had his brave and faithful dogs.
Again and again men tried to reach the south
pole, and again and again they failed. Finally
they followed Peary's example, and secured dogs
to help them. But, as there are no dogs at the
south pole, the men sent north for them, and when
they returned this time from the antarctic regions,
they brought the news that the dogs had carried
the expedition through to the south pole!
Probably not a boy or a girl who reads this book
does not know something of the part that was
played by dogs in the great World War. Dogs
were used for sentinels, and they distinguished them-
selves in the Red Cross Service. They were sent
out with first-aid kits and packages of food strapped
to their backs, and more than one home to-day is
happy because a loved one was saved through the
help of these dogs. Dogs were often used to carry
messages, and were said to be three times as good
as men in this work! They swam streams, crossed
No Man's Land, crawled through barbed wire
entanglements, and let nothing stop them till they
found the masters to whom they were taking the
Sometimes, too, sledge dogs saved whole com-
panies of soldiers by dragging to them in the moun-
tain heights the ammunitions that could be taken
up to these steep trails in no other fashion.
But it is not alone in war or on scientific expe-
ditions that dogs have served men well. You will
be delighted to know that dogs have helped more
DOG COMPANIONS 231
than once to carry the dear story of the love of
Jesus for all the world to people who have never
heard it. Archdeacon Stuck, the first man to have
climbed to the top of Mount McKinley, was a devoted
missionary. He traveled thousands of miles with a
dog team, and taught the Indians the story of the
gospel. Egerton Young, another great missionary,
wrote a fascinating book, called My Dogs of the
Northland, in which he tells of the bravery, clever-
ness, and help of the dogs. You will have a delight-
ful time in hearing or in reading these stories.
Perhaps you are beginning to think that too
much is being said about the unusual dog, and
too little about the more ordinary friend who is
playmate, companion, or watch dog for us. We
should be quite wrong to forget these four-footed
friends whom we depend on in many ways, even
though they may not have performed any very
The stories of the famous Saint Bernard dogs
who are trained to rescue travelers lost in the snow
are known to every child. Less often do we think
of and give praise to the shepherd dogs without
which the farmers would find it difiicult to carry
on their work. This is especially true in Scotland,
where the heavy mists that often hide the hills
makes a dog worth more in sheep tending than a
man. The dogs' keen sense of smell makes it
possible for them to find the sheep in weather in
which a man can see but a very short distance.
The skill and intelligence which the shepherd
dogs display in caring for sheep is very wonderful.
Stories are told of dogs that manage a drove of
several hundred sheep with almost no direction from
232 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
the master. Such a dog has been known to drive
a great flock of sheep from the pasture to the fold,
separate the little lambs and their mothers, and
drive them to one fold, while all of the other sheep
were put in a second fold; not a single mistake
was made, and not a single animal was harmed or
frightened. You would think a man who could
do as well was very skillful indeed, would you not?
A delightful tale of a shepherd dog and his work
on a Scotch farm is Bob, Son of Battle. His intelli-
gence and his skill are most interestingly described,
and you will like the story very much.
It is said that a good dog has in his life one per-
son whom he fully owns as master, one person to
whom he will always give his love and his trust
as well as his ready obedience. Many times dogs,
losing their masters, show their sorrow in very
touching ways. Greyfriars' Bobby is the tale of a
little terrier whose master died and was buried in
an old churchyard, and from the day when Bobby
saw the earth close over the casket, he never was
very far from the grave. You will love this pretty
tale of a faithful little dog.
Perhaps you ask where dogs were first found,
and if there are yet any wild dogs. This is a ques-
tion that no one is quite able to answer. It is sup-
posed by many wise people that dogs came from
the taming of the wolves. One dog lover who also
loves a joke tells of entering a tame wolf in a dog
show one time, and of fooling many of the people
in this way! Animals that resemble our dogs are
found wild in some parts of the world, but we
cannot be quite sure that all modern dogs came
from such ancestors. We are only rather sure
DOG COMPANIONS 233
that, of . all the animals tamed by man, the dog
has lived with him the longest.
How did man happen to tame a dog in the first
place? Again we can only guess. Perhaps dogs
crept up to the warmth and comfort of man's fire.
Perhaps a cave man brought home some puppies
for his children to play with. Perhaps wild dogs
began to follow man, and to use for their food that
part of the game which he did not carry away.
Perhaps man saw that dogs were so fleet that they
could overtake game more easily than he could,
and so he had the bright idea of taming them to
help him in hunting. At any rate, from very
early times dogs became the companions and the
helpers of men. Men and dogs have lived together
and worked together and played together for so
long that we can only guess as to how the partner-
But, though for many years the dog has lived
with man, he still shows some of his original habits.
Every one of you has seen a dog about to take a
nap in his basket or on the lawn. What does he
do first of all? He turns round and round, several
times. Has someone told you that he does this
to smooth his bed? Do you suppose the wild dogs
or the wolves found this a useful habit, since it
not only made a soft nest for them, but drove away
snakes and other creatures that might have hurt
Probably you have to be careful in feeding your
pet dog, or he will eat too much. You say he is
a greedy fellow, ,and that he is not wise enough to
stop eating when he has had all that is good for
him. Perhaps his greediness comes from a time,
234 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
long ago, when he did not have any certainty that
food would be at hand when he was hungry. Then
it was the part of wisdom to eat all that he could,
as there was no telling when he might find the
There is a dog on my street that gets many a
scolding, and not a few whippings, because he will
run out and bark at passing autos. "Silly dog!"
you say. "He never can catch one, and he may
get badly hurt."
"Silly people!" it would be more correct to say.
For this habit of the dog, annoying as it is now,
once helped to save his life, in those long ago times
when his food depended on his jumping first and
thinking second! If he had not done so, he would
have gone hungry many times. You see, what
my neighbors wish their dog to do is to think first
and act second. If he could do this, he would not
chase autos, for he is a good and obedient dog.
But he cannot unlearn the old habit of jumping
and then thinking.
What other old habits has your dog kept? Study
him to find out. If you think yourself back into
his old life, perhaps you can tell why he bays on
moonlight nights; why he waves his tail in friend-
liness, but lowers his head to growl. If you can
discover some of the reasons back of the way your
dog behaves, you will understand him very much
better and know how to treat him with more wisdom.
Do you ever wonder why the Bible says so little
that is good about dogs? Some people tell us that
it is because the nations among whom the Jews
lived worshiped dogs, and so the Jews came to
hate the dog. Others say that it is because in the
DOG COMPANIONS 235
land of the Hebrews dogs were the scavengers of
the streets, and were considered unclean. Yet
even the people who did not like dogs could not
but see what faithful friends they could be. It
is said that Caleb, who went to spy out the land
of Canaan and brought back the good report of
the land God was giving the people, was named
Caleb because this word means the faithful dog of
Jehovah. If this is true, it proves that these people,
living so long ago, honored the dog for sticking so
close to his friends, does it not?
To-day we know still better how much we owe
the dog. He has helped man in the chase; he has
protected man and his property. He has worked,
and often worked very hard, for man; he has served
in many ways. We are only playing fair when,
in our turn, we protect and care for the dog, and
treat him with kindness and consideration.
Something to do:
1. Read the story of a brave little dog, "Stickeen,"
written by John Muir. Read also his account, in Travels
in Alaska, of Stickeen's adventure on a glacier.
2. Read Isaiah u. 6-9. Is this a true picture of the
way man now understands and meets his animal friends?
Does it mean that, when mankind becomes more tender
and loving, animals will be less fierce and much tamer?
Read what Mr. Darwin says about the tameness of
animals that he found in places uninhabited by man.
What can you do to make the Isaiah picture true now?
3. Find the story of "Gelert," a dog that made himself
famous through his care of a little child. Tell it to some
child who cannot come to your class.
4. Plan with your classmates to make and keep filled
a drinking fountain where dogs and other small ani-
236 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
mals may easily find fresh water to drink. A pan sunk
in the ground, or fastened so it will not .tip, and kept
filled, will answer, if you can do nothing better.
5. List and read several good dog stories. Which one
do you like best, and why?
Proverbs 17. 17: A friend loveth at all times.
A FAITHFUL SERVANT
Hast thou given the horse his might?
Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane?
Job 39. 19.
WHEN you read the list of four-footed friends in
this book, perhaps you smiled as you came to the
horse, and said: "Here is a mistake! Horses do
not count nowadays. Automobiles take their place
almost entirely." Perhaps you went on and thought
of the ways in which horses were used a few years
ago, and of how so much of this work is now done
by automotive power.
Once, it may be, you heard the clop-clop of the
horses' feet on the pavement before you were
fairly out of bed, and you knew that the milkman
was bringing, behind his sleek horses, the milk for
your breakfast. The grocer, the butcher, the dry-
goods man, all brought their supplies to your door
in a delivery wagon drawn by horses. Father
came to you on holidays with the suggestion for a
ride, and this meant getting into a horse-drawn
buggy. If you spent a summer on the farm, you
saw the plowing and all of the farm work done by
To-day horses are not so much in evidence either
in the city streets or on the farms. It might seem
that, we are quite safe, then, in saying that the day
of the horse is over. But we shall be quite mis-
taken if we do say this!
238 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
You know what the census is, and you know that
at certain times, perhaps once in ten years, men
come to all of our homes, and make a count of the
people, to see how many there are in this great
America of ours. At the same time, they count
the horses, together with cattle, mules, sheep, and
any other animals that play an important part in
our life. This has been done for many years, so, if
we can get the census reports, we can tell how
horses have decreased in number. Are you quite
ready to be surprised?
The census returns show us that we now have in
our country 300,000 more horses than we had
twenty years ago! It does not seem possible, does
it? And we must remember, too, that, between
the years 1915 and 1918, 950,000 horses were
shipped abroad to be used in the Great War.
Does this look as if the day of the horse were
It is true that horses are not so numerous in the
city streets, and certain good things have come as a
result. It is also true that much of the hard and
heavy work on large farms is now done by power
machines of one kind or another. But the govern-
ment reports show that on small farms it is often
cheaper to use horses than tractors.
No one can tell just how long man has counted
the horse as one of his four-footed friends and
helpers, but it is probably a very long time since
the first horses were tamed and made to serve
man. Their intelligence, strength, and obedience
have made them of the greatest value and service
Some of the wise men tell us that very, very
A FAITHFUL SERVANT 239
long ago the creature from which our horses of
to-day are descended was a small animal, per-
haps about as big as a fox. That, however, is not
the strangest thing about this long-ago creature.
Did you ever look at a horse's foot? How many
toes has he? One, you say. Yes, and this one
toe is inclosed in a case, the hoof, we name it,
which is just a sort of big, horny toe nail.
But the long-ago horse had five toes! We can
tell this from the bones dug up in old deposits
which are found in different parts of the earth.
This is but part of the story. Later deposits
show similar animals with four and three toes.
Some day you will go to a great museum, and see,
in orderly arrangement, the skeletons of these
animals that lived ages ago, and you can trace for
yourself the changes through which they passed
in losing their toes. How did it come about?
Put the palm of your hand flat on the table, and
slowly raise it on the middle finger till the thumb
is lifted from the surface of the table. Raise the
hand yet more, and which finger is next to leave
the table? Yes, the little one. If you still lift your
hand, keeping the middle finger on the table, you
will presently lift the first and third fingers from
the table, and only the middle one will touch.
Now, it is supposed that the horse of this very
long-ago time of which we have spoken, walked not
on the soles of his feet, as do many animals, but on
his toes. When he was chased by other animals,
he rose to his tiptoes and found he could run faster
in this way, and so escape his enemies. Presently
he lost the toes that he did not use. In course of
time he came to support all his weight on the middle
2 4 o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
toe, and the nail of this grew strong and became a
fine protection for the toe.
In place of the lost toes you may see faint traces,
odd little bony prominences, on the back of the
horse's foot, that seem to prove the truth of the
idea, and tell us a little about the five toes that
horses once had in that very far-off time.
Would you like to know how and why man set
out to tame the first horse he had? Here again
we can only guess. Perhaps some ancient hunter
caught a straggler from the herd; perhaps he took
home a slightly wounded animal. Perhaps that
old horse tamer was clever enough to see that, if
he could catch one of these swift wild beasts,
and teach it to obey him, he could get far more
There is little doubt that men at first hunted
horses both for their flesh and for their skins.
Later the animals were used as beasts of burden,
and long before Job wrote his splendid description
of a noble war-horse, men had used horses to carry
them to the chase, to ride to battle and to drag
their war chariots, and from that day to this there
have been many famous war horses.
Look up the names and the stories of some famous
horses and their riders. Robert Browning, away on
a visit one time, and longing for a gallop on the
back of a lively horse, took that ride in imagination,
and wrote "How We Brought the Good News."
Find the poem and enjoy the ride on Roland yourself.
What boy or girl has not heard of Sheridan's
famous ride? Or who has not read the chariot race
in Ben Hur, and loved the swift Arabian horses
that brought victory to the hero? In the Civil
A FAITHFUL SERVANT
War, General Grant's "Jack" and General Lee's
"Traveler" were almost as well known as their
famous riders. How large a part horses played in
(Drawn from a photograph by P. L. Rounds)
WONDERFUL JUMPING MARE, "VIOLETTA," VICTORIA, B. C.
that dreadful struggle we can see when we read
that in the year 1864 500 new horses were required
for remounts for the cavalry every day, and that
242 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
40,000 horses were used in the first eight months
of that year.
When America was discovered by Columbus no
horses were found here. Many years later large
bands of wild horses were discovered, and it is
supposed that these were the descendants of horses
brought into this country by the Spanish from
Mexico and left behind when their men were obliged
to go away. The Indians in time became very
clever in catching these wild ponies, and the whole
life of the Indian was changed because he began
to make use of horses. You can see how this might
be. The Indians, mounted on swift and strong
horses, could go much greater distances in hunting,
and when one tribe got into the land claimed by
another tribe for hunting, quarrels arose, and war
often followed. Can you think of other changes
that might also come?
The beauty, the grace and the strength of horses
have combined to make them favorite models of
artists, and many famous pictures of horses have
been painted. A great woman artist painted a
wonderful picture of horses at a fair. What was
her name? Write it in your notebook under a small
copy of the picture. Did she paint any other pic-
tures of horses? of other animals? Which of her
pictures do you like best? Why?
There are so many types of horses that merely
to give the names would take far too long. Horses
are chosen according to their suitability for the
use to which they are to be put. For heavy, hard
work, Percheron horses have always been popular,
though many Canadian farmers prefer the big Clydes-
dales. Carriage horses will be chosen for swiftness
A FAITHFUL SERVANT 243
rather than strength. Boys and girls will think a
pony is more desirable than any horse ever seen,
and the little Shetland, strong, hardy, and patient,
makes a splendid pet.
The Iceland pony is not so well known in our
country as the Shetland, but he is a useful and
sturdy animal, well fitted to live in his cold home.
The hairy tail of the Iceland pony shows one of
the ways in which our Father fits his creatures for
their own place. You have noticed in pictures that
these ponies have tails from which the hair grows
quite to the top. Did you think this was a mere
oddity? It is much more; it is a part of God's
plan for the comfort of this patient little horse,
whose days must often be spent in the cold and
snow. When the wind blows and drives the snow
before it, the pony turns his back on the icy blast.
The hair of his tail spreads out like a fan. The
snow soon tangles in it. Do you think this must
be very cold and disagreeable? Quite the contrary!
The coat of snow, caught in the hairy tail, makes
a good screen that serves to keep the pony warm.
If the snow were to blow under the tail, it would
melt and run down the pony's legs and presently,
when the melted snow froze, the poor little animal
would be most uncomfortable. Such a bushy tail
is as useful to the pony as is the queer flat tail
to the beaver, is it not? Do you not think the
plans God has made for his creatures to live com-
fortably and conveniently, each in the place where
he has been put, are very wonderful?
It would not be quite fair to close the story of
the horse's service to man before we talk for a
minute of the help that has been given to making
244 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
people well by our good four-footed friend. Part
of the story you can find out for yourself by asking
your doctor or nurse friend to tell you how the
surgeon uses horse hair in his work. This is such
an important part of the horse's gifts to man that
I am sure you will think it quite enough. But
even this does not tell all the story.
You remember how well dogs served in getting
the diphtheria serum to Nome. Horses never
could have made that terrible journey, and had
it not been for the faithful dogs, most of the sick
people in the cold north would have died. Yet,
if it had not been for horses, the journey would
never have been made.
Do you ask how this can be? It is because the
horse, with his great strength, and his fine, clean
blood, is of use in making the medicine that kills
the deadly diphtheria germ. It costs the horse
little or nothing to give up a few drops of his blood >
from which in his laboratory the doctor makes the
anti- toxin that saves lives. But this is just what
happens. The horse has already saved thousands
of lives in this way, and he doubtless will save
thousands more in the years to come. Do you
not agree that the debt we owe the horse is a very
big one? When you look at a horse, you will think
of what he has done for man, and feel very grate-
ful to this four-footed friend that the heavenly
Father has given you.
Something to do:
1. Read the poem, "Sheridan's Ride."
2. Illustrate the nursery rime, / had a little pony, ancj
A FAITHFUL SERVANT 245
use the finished work as a gift to a little sick or shut-in
3. Mount a small reproduction of "The Horse Fair"
(Rosa Bonheur) for your notebook. If possible, you and
your classmates should buy a large copy of this picture
to hang on your schoolroom wall. Learn the story of
the painter of this picture. Find out if she painted any
other pictures of horses or of animals.
4. Make a collection of pictures of horses. Write an
imaginary story about the picture you like best.
5. How did the coming of horses to this country change
the history of the United States? Perhaps you cannot
give all of the answer at once, but do not be discouraged.
Ask your teacher about it, and read in your histories.
Use your imagination and then prove your ideas to be
right or Wrong by looking up the facts in books in the
6. Find in a magazine or storybook a good tale of a
horse, and learn to tell it to the class.
To learn: Proverbs 21. 31.
To read: Job 39. 19-25.
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS
Whatsoever ye do, work heartily. Colossians 3. 23.
"WHEW! but I'm tired!" cried Don, throwing
himself down in the swing couch on the shady
"No wonder!" smiled father. "You have been
as busy as a beaver all day."
"Why do people so often say 'busy as a beaver'?"
asked Don. "Do beavers work more or harder
than other animals?"
"You would think so," replied father, "if you
could watch them in the busy season, when they
are building their houses and dams, digging their
canals, and laying in the supply of food for winter."
"What is their winter food?" inquired Don,
with interest. "I supposed they ate fish and such
things; they surely do not store those."
"Certainly not!" agreed father. "Beavers are
vegetarians, and live on the bark of aspens, cotton-
woods, willows, and birches. In the summer, water
grasses, rushes, and the roots and stems of water
lilies are eaten. Beavers will not often cut hard
woods like maple and ash, unless a scarcity of food
compels them to do so."
"But I do not see, father," protested Ruth, "how
beavers can cut trees. Doctor Cookman showed
me a stuffed beaver at the museum; it was just
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 2 4 7
about this long," and Ruth measured off with her
hands a distance of a little more than three feet.
"That is about average size for a three-year-old
beaver," agreed father. "But tell me, did you
notice the mouth?"
"Oh, father," cried Ruth, "it is the queerest
mouth! It shuts up and down, instead of across,
and behind the teeth instead of in front of them!"
"Good for you, Ruth!" cried father. "That is
a fine description. Now tell me about the teeth."
"There are two on each jaw, quite long," answered
Ruth promptly, "and they look very sharp, almost
"Do not be surprised," said father, "when I
tell you that these teeth are the tools the beaver
uses to cut trees. An old beaver will work so busily
that in a single night he will fell a tree three or four
inches across, cut it into sections of four to eight
feet each, and drag them to the water. Do you won-
der that people speak of 'working like a beaver,'Don?"
"But I do not understand yet, father," said
Ruth, "how the beavers cut trees down, even with
those sharp teeth."
"Sometimes," answered father, "several beavers
work on the same tree. More often each works
independently. Each stands on the hind legs,
balances the body with the big flat tail, and cuts
out pieces of wood, perhaps throwing the head
back, or perhaps tilting it to one side, and splitting
out the chips in this fashion. Beavers show much
intelligence in selecting the trees to be cut. They
seldom go more than fifty or sixty yards inland,
and they have been known to pass by trees that
were sure to fall into other trees and so get tangled
248 ' OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
in the branches, for trees that stood in open places.
Another reason for the choice of trees that grow
near the water may be that the beaver moves
slowly and clumsily on land. One can be easily
overtaken by a person. The beaver seems to know
this, and to keep close enough to the water to be
able to reach it quickly in time of need, or in case
"What sort of homes do beavers have?" asked
"Beavers build a house, often starting it from
the bottom of a pond," answered father, "by
piling up sticks and mud for five or six feet till the
water level is reached. Then still more sticks,
stones, and mud are added, till a living room big
enough for the beaver family is completed. It
looks somewhat like a rounded oven, and may be
rather rough and open at first. Long before winter
comes, and the first frost is felt, the walls will be
made thick and strong. Sometimes the walls will
be three or four feet thick. Sticks are laid over
the outside in every direction, and when mud and
sod are plastered over all of these you can guess
how firm the whole thing must be."
"How does the inside look?" asked Ruth, who
had been listening with much interest.
"The inside is a rounded chamber, possibly six
to eight feet across and three feet high. The sticks
have been gnawed off on the inside so that a
smooth wall is made. A bed of grass, leaves, or
the chewed-up wood is made a little distance above
the water level, and quite near to the water hole."
"Do you mean a sort of drinking fountain, father?"
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS
"No, no," laughed father. "It is a safety door,
to get in or go out, in times of danger. All beaver
houses have one, and perhaps two such holes; they
come out under the bottom edge of the houses,
perhaps thirty-five or forty feet away. If some-
thing frightens the beaver when he is at home,
(Copied by E. L. Howe by permission of
Painted by R. Bruce Horsefall for Nature
Magazine, April, 1925
THE AMERICAN BEAVER
he dives down through one of these holes, and may
next be seen a half or a quarter of a mile away."
"Then a beaver must swim well under water,"
"Yes, indeed!" agreed father. "They have been
known to stay under water for fifteen minutes,
though this is not at all usual. Three or four
minutes is the rule."
250 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"I wish I could stay under water as long as
that!" sighed Don.
"You could if you were as well fitted to do so
as is the beaver," laughed father. "The beaver's
nostrils close up under water. His ears are fur-
lined, and also close under water. Because of the
'queer' mouth which Ruth mentioned a few minutes
ago, shutting behind the long teeth, water does
not get in when the animal is getting roots or sticks
below the surface. He can use his small front
feet for hands, since he must do all his swimming
with his large webbed hind feet."
"I think the beaver's tail is about as queer as
his mouth," said Ruth.
"I agree with you," said father. "If you knew
nothing about the beaver's life, you might almost
be ready to say that tail is a mistake, when, actu-
ally, it is a most useful member!"
"What is it like?" asked Don. "You know I did
not see the beaver, as I could not go with the class
the other day."
"It is broad and flat," answered Ruth, "and
there is no fur on it. There are queer wrinkles in
it that make it look at a little distance as if it might
be covered with scales. How is such a strange
"In the first place," answered father, "that tail
is used as a balance. Can you not see how it must
help the animal to stand when he is raising himself
on his hind legs to cut a tree? Or picture one
coming from the bottom of the pond with his fore-
arms full of mud and stone which he is to carry
to the top of his house; how that tail will help to
keep him from tumbling over!"
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 251
"Of course!" cried Don. "What else, father?"
"Perhaps the second thing of importance is that
it serves as a danger signal. Beavers are always
on the alert for danger, and at the first sign, they
take to the water. As they reach it, the big flat
tail comes down on the surface with a slap that
can be heard for a long distance. Every beaver
within hearing at once heeds this signal, hurries
to the water, and in turn gives his signal of warning."
"I like that tale of a tail, father," twinkled Ruth,
"and I won't call it a queer tail again."
"But that is not all," father went on. "Beavers
often need to float the trees that they cut for some
distance down the stream to their houses or dams.
Imagine them tugging at the end of the log and
trying to guide it. How do you suppose they ever
keep from going around in circles?"
"I kept my boat straight by the rudder," said
Don, slowly, "when I was on the pond last year.
The beaver must need a rudder too. Oh, I see,
father! This queer tail is his rudder!"
"Exactly!" agreed father. "In addition, many
people who have had the chance to study the
beaver closely think he uses his tail as a propeller
when swimming. He swims very fast, and seems
to use both body and tail. You see, it is not very
safe to make too quick judgments on the value
or usefulness of a member merely on the ground of
"Why do beavers build dams?" asked Don.
"Beavers are very dependent on water," answered
father. "They are so much at home in it that they
are more water than land animals. It is in the
water that they are safe from most of their enemies,
252 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
and so they build dams across shallow streams to
make the water deep enough to protect their
"Do they make the dam in the same way as
they make their houses?" asked Ruth.
"Yes, much the same fashion," replied father.
"They work from the upstream side, and begin
by floating down sticks and branches of trees
Then they add grass, mud, stones, and such
material. Soon the water is checked in its flow
and begins to rise. Then the beavers permit the
sticks to fall over the top, and lie crisscross on
the lower side, where they add more mud to hold
it fast. So the dam grows, till it is high enough
and strong enough to stand floods and to make the
water supply secure. If a leak comes in any spot,
the beavers repair it very quickly. Some of the
big dams are very old and have been made by
many beavers working through a long period of
years, though the dams are still strong. Beavers
are very good engineers indeed."
"I should think beavers would need to wear water-
proof suits if they are to live and work under water
so much," laughed Ruth.
"That is exactly the sort of suit our wise heavenly
Father has given the beaver," said father. "The
soft fur such as trims your winter coat is the under-
coat, and is waterproof. The outer hairs are called
the guard hairs. They are coarse and generally
of a dull brown. But the beavers keep them in
excellent order by using the curious combing claw
that grows on the two inner toes of each hind foot."
"That is better than having a vanity comb in
your pocket," chuckled Don.
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 253
"The beaver is not a vain animal," replied father,
"but he is a very neat one. His house is always
well kept and clean. Some observers have written
of the insects that make their home in the beaver's
fur, but our government experts tell us that the
animal is remarkably free from all such parasites.
I suspect that his love of cold water makes him
both healthy and clean."
"Same with boys!" grinned Don. "Do you
suppose beavers get as much fun from their swim-
ming as we fellows do?"
"I am sure of it!" replied father. "I have hidden
myself near a beaver colony and watched them for
hours at a time, through a period of several weeks.
The older members of the colony apparently wander
off during the summer months. I have wondered
if they did not go exploring, looking for good places
to found new colonies when the food supply of
aspens runs low where they are located. The
young beavers, and sometimes the whole colony,
play like a group of lively boys and girls. The
youngsters push each other into the water, dive,
race, wrestle, and make merry generally. But you
should see the beavers at work, if you would know
what it means to be busy."
"Tell us, tell us, father," urged Ruth.
"Beavers do not work in the hustling, bustling
fashion that men so often follow," said father.
"When they are getting ready for winter, though,
they work both hard and steadily, but without
confusion. A number may be busy gnawing down
aspens. Others will spread mud over the tops of
the houses, so that when it freezes not even a bear
can break through. Perhaps still others may be
254 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
cutting the felled trees into sections that can be
floated down to the food pile, of to the dam, where
another group of beavers may be strengthening the
work to stand the floods that may come. Every
one will be working steadily and with no hurry,
but with quite an evident plan in mind."
"Do you suppose they have a leader, a sort of
'boss'?" asked Don.
"How I wish I could answer that to my own
satisfaction!" cried father. "I have watched closely
to discover any such leader, and have never seen
anything to prove that one beaver more than
another is head or chief, but the animals are so
shy, it is difficult to get near enough to them to
make sure of all that goes on. Perhaps you will
some day have the opportunity to study them for
yourself, and take pictures of them with a long-
distance camera. You may be able to add a great
deal to our knowledge of these interesting creatures,
that have played so large a part in the history of
"What do you mean, father?" queried Don, who
was just beginning to show much interest in Amer-
"That is another long story, for which we have
no time just now. Look it up in your books, and
we will talk of it later."
"Tell me something to find out, father!" begged
"See if you can discover any useful part the
beaver plays beyond furnishing you with a pretty
trimming for your winter coat!" said father, with
a merry twinkle in his eye that sent Ruth away
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 255
Something to do:
1. Canada has chosen the beaver as its national em-
blem. Why did it so decide?
2. Trace an outline map of the United States, and
pencil lightly over that part where beavers once lived
when the country was first colonized. Using a red or
blue pencil, trace over the parts where beavers may
now be found.
3. Write to the United States Department of Agri-
culture, at Washington, D. C., for Bulletin 1078, which
tells of the beaver habits, control, and farming. You
will find many interesting facts about these animals
in this little pamphlet. It is free.
4. Read Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha," and get the
story of the beaver as it is told there. Do you agree
with the ideas about the beaver that you find in the
5. Find and read one or more stories about beavers,
in books written by Mr. E. A. Mills, or in the Nature
6. Write at least three ways of living or working that
beavers follow which may be well copied by boys and
To learn: Romans 12. n.
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS
"ARE you ready?" asked father, with a smile
at the eager faces of the two children before him.
"Full speed ahead, Don!"
"I found so many new facts that I do not know
where to begin in my story of the beaver as a his-
tory maker," began Don. "In the first place,
beavers used to be quite common in Europe. But
about the time that the New World was being
explored, European beavers were getting very scarce,
as they had been so trapped and killed for their
fur, that few were left. When then it was found
that beavers lived in large numbers in almost all
of North America north of Mexico, I suppose those
old trappers thought they had struck a regular
gold mine in the way of fur!"
"But, Don, 'almost all of North America'!"
cried Ruth, who was looking at a map in an open
book. "Are beavers found in our country any-
where except in the Rockies and the Adirondacks?"
"Not now, to any extent, at least," replied Don,
"but there was a time when they were spread over
most of the country. Quite a number are still found
in Canada. My book says they were found wher-
ever the aspen grew, and that was the most widely
distributed tree in North America."
"What happened to drive them out?" queried
WORKING LIKE -BEAVERS 257
"That is a part of my story," answered Don.
"The French tried hard to get the control of the
entire fur trade so that they could do as they pleased
and get all the .money. The books tell of one
^rant' after another. Of course the English did
not like the idea of letting the French have it all,
and made plans to get their share. There were all
sorts of quarrels between the fur traders. Many
times a trader, or a company of traders, would load
one or more ships with fine furs to take back to
his homeland, and before he reached the other
side, a ship of the rival country, or perhaps a pirate
ship manned by fellow countrymen, would fall upon
him, and rob him of all his furs; on one excuse or
another. That was hard on the owner, but it was
hardest of all on the beavers, which were being
killed off in great numbers."
"Of course people were not thinking of the matter
from the beaver's point of view," said father, "and it
seemed quite unlikely that the end of the fur supply
should ever be reached."
"There was another interesting side of it, too,"
he added. "The trapper was often the first man
in the new country. Of course he needed a point
at which he could get food, or a place to go for
safety, or to trade his furs. So posts were estab-
lished for this. Sometimes they were not much
more than a little cluster of huts. Often a fort
was built for protection. But nearly every city
in the Saint Lawrence and Mississippi valleys and
many in the eastern part of the country were once
built as a part of the big fur trade business that
was going on in those early days."
258 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Quite right!" agreed father.
"The thing which I thought the very queerest
of all was the part fashion has had in driving the
beaver out," added Don.
"Do you mean the style of wearing beaver fur
for trimming?" asked Ruth.
"That, of course, was the first thing," answered
Don. "All through the days of exploring, the
beaver's fine coat made him a hunted creature.
But after England and France had settled the
question of who should rule Canada, after the
beaver had been pretty well driven to living in the
wilder parts of northern United States and the
Rockies, American men began to follow the funny
style of wearing tall beaver hats. No man thought
he was well dressed if he did not have one."
"I remember very well seeing my grandfather
wearing such a hat," smiled father. "If someone
had not invented a way of making tall hats out of
silk, and if the fashion had not changed, the beaver
might be even harder to find than is now the case."
"What makes me most indignant," went on Don,
"is that trappers later used dynamite, and blew up
whole colonies of beavers. I think that is not being
a good sport; it is not giving the poor animal a
chance for his life."
"You are right," agreed father, "and the govern-
ment thinks as you do, and forbids such measures
now. It is illegal to take beavers at all in certain
seasons, and we are trying at last to protect and
"We ought to save them," said Ruth, so earnestly
that Don could not help smiling. "They are just
about the best neighbors one could wish."
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 259
'Tell us about it, daughter," said father.
'This is about some Colorado beavers," returned
Ruth. "A farmer in that State had a dry ranch,
and from the little creek he could get just about
enough water for a small garden. Then some
beavers built on his creek, and by making a dam,
saved the tiny trickle of water. The farmer would
not permit a single beaver to be harmed. So the
colony grew, and pretty soon the farmer had water
enough for ten times as much land as there was in
his little garden."
"Hurrah for the beavers!" cried Don. "But
weren't their plans all spoiled when the farmer
took their water supply?"
"No, indeed!" said Ruth. "They build up the
dam as soon as they find it broken, and in a little
time there is another water supply stored for them.
More than one farmer in Colorado, so my mag-
azine says, is making use of beaver dams in this
"It must save the farmers a great deal of money,"
"It does," returned Ruth. "Wait a minute, and
I will tell you how much. I was afraid I could not
remember, so I wrote it down," and she gravely
consulted a small notebook. "The farmers thought
that each beaver in the colony saved water enough
to have cost anywhere from five hundred to one
thousand dollars. What do you think of that?"
"That's great," cried father.
"Besides all that," added Ruth, "the men did
not have to build the big watering plants, nor did
they need to keep them in repair, and they saved
just hundreds of dollars in that way. The beaver
260 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
needs nothing more expensive than sticks and mud,
and when the dam breaks, he gets busy and mends
it, sometimes almost too soon to suit the farmers
who are thinking of their thirsty crops!"
"A pretty useful neighbor, I think!" cried Don.
"Yes, indeed!" said father. "But even this does
not tell all the story of his service to man. You
remember how the beaver dams are made?"
"Yes, of willow and aspen sticks, and stones,
and mud," responded Don, promptly.
"You can see that, even when the dam is fresh
and not yet tight enough to keep back all the
water, it must check the flow, and make the
stream run more slowly. What must happen then
to the fine soil that is carried in the water?"
"Why, I suppose it must settle," said Don, slowly.
"Quite right!" agreed father. In this way,
'beaver meadows' are made. Of course the willows
that are used in building the dam often begin to
grow, and their roots help to bind the soil still
more firmly. Generally the fine earth carried by
the stream is very rich, and gradually a productive
valley, a fine farm, or the place for a splendid
orchard comes from the beaver meadow. E. A.
Mills, a man who has studied beavers for a long
time, declares that thousands of square miles of
land have been covered in this way."
"Beavers sometimes do a little harm," said Ruth,
"by making use of railroad culverts. Doctor Cook-
man showed me a picture of .one such bridge where
the railroad company had to keep an iron ladder
on the spot for the use of the men who go every
few days to take away the sticks and the stones
that the beavers pile against it. If the water gets
WORKING LIKE BEAVERS 261
too high, it may wash away the track, or make it
so soft that the trains cannot run on it safely."
"But aren't they the clever little animals to make
use of what they find?" asked Don, admiringly.
"They surely show a great deal of intelligence,"
"Sometimes people get out of patience with them
because their dams flood good camping sites, and
the water kills the trees," added Ruth, "but Doctor
Cookman says the government sends out instruc-
tions as to how to drain these dams so as to save
the trees and yet not harm the beavers."
"Oh, that's good!" cried Don.
"It is just because the beaver is so useful that
the government makes such a careful study of him,
and of his ways and his needs," said father. "There
is no doubt that the beaver helps in flood control.
He builds, not only one, but often two or three or
four dams across a stream. Suppose, now, that
somewhere in the upper part of the* stream the
trees have been burned or cut off. There is then
little or no protection when the snows begin to
melt. A heavy rain storm, too, would run off very
fast. The stream will fill quickly. But when the
water reaches the first dam, its flow is checked a
little, and by the time it passes over the last dam,
it has been so slowed up that the harm it does is
"Hurrah for the beaver, I say again!" cried Don.
"I think he is just about the most useful neighbor
and helper we have found! I mean to do all I can
to keep him happy and at home!"
"I quite agree with you!" said father. "The
beaver is a useful and industrious citizen. He
262 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
lives in peace. He works hard and quietly. He
plays hard too. He makes the best of things as
he finds them, and he adds not a little, by his quiet
work, to the beauty and usefulness of the world."
" 'Whatsoever thy hands find to do,' that seems
to be his rule," said Ruth. "I think I'll be a beaver,
and do my full share of the garden weeding and
watering, after this, Don!"
Something to do :
1 . Look up an article published in the Saturday Evening
Post, May i, 1926, concerning the fur trade in Alaska,
and learn what you can about beavers.
2. Ask someone to help you find out what Parkman
wrote about the beaver fur trade, and its effect on the
settlement and the history of the United States.
3. Imagine yourself a beaver who is well acquainted
with the history of his family and their work for a long
time. Tell the class the story of what your (beaver)
people have done for the United States. You may tell
of. land formed for farms and orchards, of .water stored
up for dry times, of ideas of dams given to men, or of
food or warm clothing that saved them from cold and
4. Read Mr. Mills' In Beaver World, and, in the words
of a young beaver, tell the story his grandfather told
him (you!) about going from a wrecked home to a new
colony; of the dangers encountered, and the adventures
of the trip.
5. Write, in one or two sentences, the things about
the beaver that you like best.
To learn: Romans 14. 7.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy
might. Ecclesiastes 9. 19,
SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS
I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and
mine own know me. John 10. 14.
LONG, long ago, so long ago indeed that we can
only guess about it, a man, feeling very hungry
himself, and thinking, too, of his hungry family in
the mountain cave which was their home, captured
and killed a wild sheep, and carried it to his dwell-
ing place on his shoulder. With a stone knife he
cut off the skin, and his wife cooked the juicy meat
on the fire that burned before the cave, or on the
rude earth floor. Everyone had a fine feast. The
man used the rough skin for a coat, and very warm
and comfortable he found it. Quite possibly the
children crept under it when they went to sleep
at night, and thought it the cosiest covering they
had. No doubt the cave wife liked the warm skin
as a rug in her cold cave, though she probably cared
more for the rich meat of the animal, which had
tasted so good. Perhaps she urged her husband
to hunt for more animals of the same kind; and he
learned to be very cunning in stalking and captur-
ing the strong and clever mountain sheep that
could run so fast and jump so far and so surely.
We cannot be perfectly sure about any of the
early beginnings, but it seems quite likely that man
first learned in some such way as this of the value
of sheep to him, and it is almost sure that he first
264 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
hunted the creatures for the sake of the food value,
and that he used their skins as clothing as a second
But when you think of the skins of these long-
ago sheep you must not picture to yourself a thick,
white woolly coat, such as you have seen on the
sheep of to-day in a farmer's pasture, or on a great
Western sheep range. Those first wild sheep prob-
ably looked much like the wild sheep that may
still be found in certain parts of the world.
Some day you may have the good fortune to see
one of our Rocky Mountain sheep, and you will
know then how the cave man's sheep looked. Till
you can see a wild sheep for yourself, you may
content yourself with a description of them, and
you will find such a word picture in a book written
by Mr. E. A. Mills, who has made a careful study
of these interesting animals.
Another good description of the wild sheep is to
be found in John Muir's book called Steep Trails.
The first chapter tells of the hairy coat of the
wild sheep, so different from the soft, woolly cov-
ering of our tame animal. The wild sheep's coat
is not unlike that of the beaver in this way, that
the undercovering is protected with light, elastic,
shining hairs that make a splendid overcoat, an
overcoat that will not tangle or mat, and that will
very easily keep beautifully clean.
You may have seen a flock of our tame sheep
some time after they have been shorn, when the
wool has had time to grow long. You have noted
how tangled and matted the thick fleece becomes,
and how dust and dirt have worked into the oily
mass, till the sheep is no longer white, but a dirty
SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS 265
gray. The wild sheep do not have this incon-
venient and uncomfortable coat. The coat they
wear was planned by the heavenly Father, in his
wisdom, to exactly suit the places and the con-
ditions in which the sheep were to live.
Do you ask how the tame sheep's coat came to
be so changed? It came about slowly, largely
through man's care. You would like to know
exactly how man began to tame sheep for his own
use, and so would we all; but we can imagine how
it came about. Perhaps some hunter found a little
lamb that had lost its mother, and he took it home
to the children. Perhaps a sheep was wounded
but not killed, and the cave man began his taming
process when the sheep recovered under his care.
It would not take man very long to find out that
skins with the longest and thickest underhair make
the warmest clothes. When he selected sheep to
raise for clothing he would keep only those that
had such thick coats, just as he would select the
largest and heaviest sheep when he was choosing
those that would make the best food.
We can guess rather surely as to what animals
man tamed, from the bones that are dug up in the
places where it is known that man made his home
in the very earliest times. It is these bones that
make us sure that sheep were among the very first
creatures that man selected for his flocks. Prob-
ably, before this was done, more or less fixed places
of living had been chosen. Perhaps rude houses
had taken the place of caves as homes for people.
The wanderings from place to place would be those
that were necessary to find plenty of grass and
good water for the sheep and cattle.
266 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Gradually, as man began to care for sheep, their
bodies and their coats changed. The light, stiff,
shiny hairs of the outside coat little by little grew
less common, and the thick undercoat grew thicker
and longer, as only those sheep that had such coats
were saved for breeding. As the wool increased in
quantity and quality, more and more uses were
found for it, and presently it became a very im-
portant reason for keeping sheep, though it was
not until rather recent times that people thought
^more of the wool than of the mutton. The sheep
as a food supply was long held in higher regard
than as a source of wearing apparel.
How many things of everyday use that are made
from wool can you name? Just to mention the
ordinary articles of common use will require several
pages of your notebook. Ask mother why wool
is used for so many things, and she will tell you
it is because wool makes warm clothing, or because
wool wears well. Why is wool warm, and why
does it wear better than cotton? See if you can
find out the reason for yourself.
You will be surer of learning why wool is so
useful if you can get a tuft directly from a fresh
fleece, a tuft of wool that has never been spun or
woven. If this is not possible, do the best you
can with a bit of yarn, or the threads pulled from
a rug, a blanket, or a piece of flannel. Wash the
wool till it is free from oil and dust. When it is
quite dry, pull it carefully apart, till you are able
to look at each single little fiber. A magnifying
glass will help you very much, as some of the facts
you will wish to learn cannot be gained without one.
It will not take you many minutes to discover
SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS 267
that each tiny wool fiber is not a straight, smooth
thread. Each is curled up like a wee spring. All
your care will not make it smooth and straight.
If the wool you are looking at is new, and if your
microscope is strong enough, you will see that, in
addition to being twisted like a spring, each fiber
carries a number of tiny hooks or barbs.
Try to twist a number of the fibers into a thread.
You will see at once what must happen. All the
little coils catch in one another. When you take
the thread by the two ends and try to pull it apart,
tKey do not slip readily. The tiny barbs help to
hold too, 'and all of this makes a strong thread.
But the coils do not allow the fibers to lie close
together; air spaces are left between them. This
makes a thread that, woven into cloth, gives a stuff
that is warm as well as strong.
If at the same time you are looking at the wool
you will study cotton fibers, you will note a great
difference between the two. Cotton fibers are much
shorter than wool fibers. They are not barbed,
and they are not twisted. It is possible to make
thread from cotton that is almost as smooth as
silk, but, partly because the fibers are not coiled
and barbed, and more because they are so much
shorter, cotton is not as strong and does not wear
as well as wool.
How do you suppose people first learned to twist
wool fibers into thread and then to weave the
threads into cloth? It would be a fascinating story
if we could tell it. We do know what the very
earliest spinning tools were, however. If you visit
the Museum of Natural History in New York City
some day, you may look at work baskets owned
268 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
by Indian women many hundreds of years ago.
In them are still the simple spinning tools that
Better than looking at these old baskets, you
may make very good imitations of the old tools
and spin a thread of wool for yourself! Find, if
you can, a small stone, with a hole in the center.
You can often pick up one on the beach. If you
live far away from the seashore, you can make
an empty spool serve your purpose fairly well,
especially if you weight it slightly. This tool is
called a whorl. You next should take a few fibers
of the wool in your fingers and twist them a bit
to start a thread. Fasten this to the whorl and
let the weight of the whorl keep the thread twist-
ing as you add more fibers. When you have made
a few inches of thread, you will begin winding it
on a spindle, which you may make from any small
stick. A reed or a bit of wood slightly larger at
the middle than at the ends is all that is needed,
and the yarn is wound on it much as a boy winds
his kite string.
All our modern spinning machines that to-day
run by steam or electricity are just improvements
of this old hand method of making yarn from
wool. At what time the art of spinning was learned
we can only guess, but it was very, very long ago.
Ages before Abraham, men had learned to value
sheep highly, and they knew how to care well for
Under the care of men, sheep changed in a way
as marked as the changed coats they came to
wear. For, as men took more and more care of
their sheep, the sheep grew weaker and more de-
SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS 269
270 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
pendent. They were less able to care for them-
selves, less able to fight off their enemies.
The best part of this side of the story is that
men came to see how much the sheep needed tender
and watchful care, and that the shepherds gave it
in full measure. So unselfish did shepherds show
themselves, and so wise and loving was the help
they gave the sheep, that when Jesus wished to
tell his followers how much he loved them, he found
no better way of making them understand than to
call himself the Good Shepherd. He said: "I am
the good shepherd. I know my sheep. I call
them all by name. My sheep, know me. They
follow me. I go to hunt for even one lost lamb.
I give my life for my sheep. The shepherd who
is a hireling will not do this; it is only the true shep-
herd who cares for his sheep in this way."
Long before Jesus lived, a singer of Israel, David,
the shepherd king, wrote what we have come to
call the Shepherd Psalm. He gives a lovely picture
of the faithful shepherd caring for his flock, and
says that this is the way God cares for his people.
Can you say from memory the twenty-third psalm?
Another writer speaks of people who will not
follow God's way as silly sheep who have gone
astray, and followed their own way, not listening
to the voice of the shepherd. Have you ever seen
a flock of sheep that would not heed their master's
command? Sometimes just one foolish sheep will
start to do the wrong thing, to go the wrong way,
to escape from the safe pasture, it may be, through
a break. What do the other sheep do? One by
one they follow the example of the first foolish
sheep, and go wandering away; they go astray,
SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS 271
and they do not know enough to come back till
the loving shepherd goes for them, and leads them
all back to their proper fold. Who would choose
to be a sheep that has gone away from the fold?
The old Hebrews believed in a service of God
that called for the sacrifice of lambs. When, after
many years, Jesus came to show them, and to
show the whole world through them, the way to
God, he, like the lambs, gave his life to lead his
followers closer to the heavenly Father, and because
of this, as well as because of his gentleness and his
obedience to his Father, we love to think of him
as "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of
the world." This was what John called Jesus,
when he saw him coming to the River Jordan for
baptism. What other verses can you find which
speak of Jesus as the Lamb of God?
Something to do:
1. Make a spindle and whorl.
2. Wash a small quantity of wool, and, using spindle
and whorl, make a thread of wool.
3. Look up in your books how weaving is done. Make
a small loom from a heavy cardboard or the cover of a
. cigar box. String or warp your loom with cord, and
weave a woolen rug for your doll house, or a mat for
4. Find a pretty picture of sheep. Mount it, and
write your favorite verse from the Bible concerning
sheep below the picture.
5. In your notebook write the helps that sheep have
given to men. Can you find ways of helping that are
not mentioned in this book?
6. Find in the Bible the story of a little lost sheep
and the loving shepherd that went to find it. Talk
272 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
over with your teacher the best way of telling this story.
Perhaps you will decide that acting it out will be a very
good way. Get ready to tell or act the story, and ask
your mothers and friends to come to your class some
day and hear it.
To learn: Psalm 23; or John 10. 12-15.
To read: "The Lamb," a poem by William Blake, be-
ginning, "Little lamb, who made thee?"
THE EARTH AND ITS NEIGHBORS
SKYLAND AND CLOUDLAND
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment;
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain;
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters;
Who maketh the clouds his chariot;
Who walketh upon the wings of the wind.
Psalm 104. 2, 3.
"An, there come the helpers who will bake our
bread, cook our dinner, and clean our clothes!"
cried father as he dropped the camp ax against
the big pile of wood he and Don had just cut for
the oven and the evening camp fire.
"Where?" asked Don, eagerly looking up the
trail that led into the camp. "I see no one coming."
"Not that way," laughed father. "This way!"
and he pointed to the sky.
"What, coming by airplane?" queried Don in
great surprise, as he craned his neck to scan the sky.
"No, no, boy!" chuckled father. "I mean those
big white clouds that are just beginning to show
over the hill."
"Now, father," objected Don, "you have told
me plenty of wonder tales that I know are true,
but I do not see how clouds can bake bread, or
cook meals, though," he added more slowly, "they
might help us clean our clothes."
"I think I know what father means," said Ruth,
from her seat on a big log, where she was busily
stripping the outer husks from the roasting ears.
276 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"You are thinking of the big power houses we saw
on our way up to these hills, aren't you, father,
and of the electric oven and the electric washer
"Of course!" cried Don. "The clouds will turn to
rain, and the river will carry it down to the power
plant. You did catch me napping that time, father."
"How high are those clouds, father?" asked Ruth.
Father looked up at the fleecy white clouds,
piling higher and higher every minute.
"They are cumulus clouds," replied father, "and
are probably about a mile high. That is the aver-
age height for that type of cloud. If they turn
to cumulo-nimbus clouds, the form we sometimes
speak of as a 'thunder-head,' they may grow till
they are three miles from base to summit."
"Oh, father, those big names!" cried Ruth.
"Ho! those aren't hard words!" scoffed Don.
"Not if you know Latin! 'Cumulus' means 'heap,'
and I think it is just the name for those big, puffy
clouds that look like heaps of white wool. And
'nimbus' means it means father, I am afraid I
have forgotten just what it does mean!"
"Look off to the north," directed father. "That
low dark cloud is a typical nimbus cloud. How
does it look?"
"Oh, it must be raining there!" cried Ruth.
"You can see the long streaks from the bottom
of the cloud."
"Yes," agreed father, "it is raining, and that
will help you to remember what 'nimbus' means
'raincloud'; you see, it will not be hard at all."
"I heard grandfather talk of a 'mackerel' sky.
What does he mean by that, father?" asked Don,
SKYLAND AND CLOUDLAND 277
"Yes, and 'mares' tails,' too," added Ruth. "I
think that is a funny cloud name."
"There are no clouds of that kind in the sky
to-day," said father, "but I am sure I can explain
so you will understand. Have you ever seen thin,
feathery bands of cloud floating in the sky?"
"Oh, yes," cried Ruth. "They were all spread
out like little bits of wool, or like flying hair."
"Exactly!" said father. "Those are cirrus clouds,
and 'cirrus' is another Latin word meaning 'tuft'
or 'ringlet.' The cirrus clouds are much higher,
usually, than the cumulus clouds. They are gen-
erally as high as the top of Mount Everest."
"Five miles!" exclaimed Don, recalling his geog-
raphy very promptly.
"Yes, just about that," agreed father. "When
such clouds spread out in bands they are often
spoken of as 'mares' tails,' because, as you suggest,
they look like masses of flying hair. They are
formed of ice-crystals, and when the light of sun
or moon shines through them they make 'rings'
or 'halos.' The 'mackerel' sky is often a combina-
tion of cirrus and cumulus clouds, and generally
comes in fine weather. The mackerel sky will
show all sorts of lovely cloud formations, and may
cover a large part of the sky with the clouds in
orderly ranks and rows."
"But the cumulus clouds make the prettiest
sky pictures," said Ruth.
"Cirrus for me," said Don, decidedly, "especially
when they are all pink and yellow and violet at
"Father, why are some clouds pink, and some
violet, while others are white?" asked Ruth,
278 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"It is all due to another skyland helper of which
we seldom think," answered father. "It is the
dust in the air that gives the clouds their color."
"Do you mean the dust is colored?" asked Ruth,
"No, no, not that," smiled father. "I mean
that the tiny particles of dust in the air break up
the light rays and scatter them, and that gives
the lovely colors we enjoy so much. The reds of
a brilliant sunset just mean that the rays have to
struggle through denser, closer air, and that the
long red rays of light are sifted out of the other
"My professor at the school says that dust makes
the sky blue. Is that true, father?" asked Don.
"Yes," answered father. "If there were no dust
particles in the air, the sky would look nearly as
black as it does at night, and the sun and the stars
would shine so brightly that we would be glad to
shield our eyes from the glare."
"Who ever supposed that dust was a helper?"
"I have not yet told you of another very im-
portant way in which dust helps," said father.
"Some wise men made certain interesting experi-
ments a number of years ago, and they proved that
dews, fogs, and gentle rains are the rule rather than
floods and torrents, just because of dust. Each
little particle of dust becomes a core or center
around which a drop of water vapor condenses
or turns back to its water form. They tell us that
if there were no dust at all in the air, the earth
might even become so barren we cpulcl not live
SKYLAND AND CLOUDLAND 279
Don looked startled. "Is there any danger of
that?" he asked. "Where does the dust come
"From a great many sources," answered father.
"Salt is blown from the ocean spray; sand is blown
from the desert; meteorites that come our way
help too. Ashes from volcanoes supply dust also.
When a huge volcano near Java was active, it was
figured that a vast amount of dust was thrown
off in an eruption; some of it must have traveled
around the earth three times before it finally dis-
appeared, and for about 'three years, the sunsets
in the temperate regions, where the dust was found,
were wonderful in color."
"The dust from city streets counts, too, I sup-
pose," said Don.
"Yes, and the soot from factories, as well as the
dust rising from plowed fields. Even the flowers
add their bit, through the pollen which the wind
scatters," said father.
"Then we must count the wind as another helper,"
"Of course," said Ruth. "The wind heaps up
the clouds and gives them their lovely shape,
doesn't it, father?"
"The wind helps to form the clouds," agreed
father, "but there are many other causes for cloud
formation, as there are many other cloud forms
than those we have talked of; it is not easy to
explain why clouds take the shapes they do. The
wind has its part to play, though, or we should
have no rains on the land."
"What is the difference between a fog and a
cloud, father?" asked Ruth.
2 8o OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"A fog is just a low cloud, one that rests oft of
near the earth," replied father. "The warm air
from the land blows over the sea and becomes
chilled. Then the water vapor that is in the air
turns back to its water form, or condenses, as we
say, and shows as fog. The clouds in the sky
show because the water vapor has turned back to
its water form high above the earth, when it met a
cool layer of air."
"But if the water vapor turns back to its water
form, why does it not fall as rain?" queried Don.
"The water in fog of clouds," replied father,
"is in such tiny drops that it is more correct to
think of them as droplets. You have seen the
steam form in wee drops on a cold window pane,
have you not?"
"Oh, yes, father," cried Ruth, "and when there
was ever so much of it, the tiny drops ran into
one another, and made streams of water down
"That is very much the same as happens in the
clouds. In summer we get rain. In winter when
the change to the water form takes place below
freezing point, we get sleet or snow from the clouds,
and frost on the ground instead of dew."
"And hail?" asked Ruth. "It hails in summer."
"Hail is generally rain that froze," said father.
"Large hailstones seem to be made up of layers.
Probably the hail stones have been carried up and
down by different currents of air, and have so had
one layer after another added to them."
"I don't believe we can call hail a helper," said
Ruth, doubtfully. "Doesn't it often hurt crops?"
"Sometimes it does cut and injure grain," said
SKYLAND AND CLOUDLAND 281
father, "but this does not happen so very often.
Probably the hail helps more than it harms, and
if we cannot quite understand it, we can remember
what the psalmist wrote about all these helpers
'Praise Jehovah from the earth, . . .
Fire and hail, snow and vapor,
Stormy wind, fulfilling his word.' "
"Oh, that's a lovely verse, father!" cried Ruth.
"Are there any more verses in the Bible about
"Yes, indeed!" replied father. "You may look
for them to-night, but I will give you one more now:
'I know that Jehovah is great, . . .
Who causeth the vapors to ascend from the earth;
... In the seas and in all deeps;
Who maketh lightnings for the rain;
Who bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries.' "
"We must learn them, Ruth," said Don, "and
then I mean to write them under my cloud pic-
tures in our 'Good Times Book' when we get home."
"That will be fine," said father, "and you will
have a good time hunting out other verses too.
There are some grand descriptions of clouds and
storms in the Bible!"
Something to do:
1. Find or draw pictures, or take photographs, of
clouds of different shapes. Mount them and write the
name of each under the picture.
2. Find a poem called "The Cloud," written by Percy
B. Shelley. Learn to read it well. Note the lovely pic-
282 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
tures that the poem makes. Draw, paint, or collect
pictures to illustrate the poem.
3. Watch the sunset sky for several nights. Then
try to make a sunset picture for yourself, either using
water color paints or crayola. You may draw your own
sky, color a black-and-white print, or tint a photograph.
Put your color on daintily, and suggest the glow; do not
try to get it as strong as the real color. Try again and
again. You will not be satisfied with what you do, but
the trying will help you to see the lovely colors and to
4. Find and ask your mother or teacher to read to
you Carl Sandburg's poem called "Fog," C. G. Rosetti's
poem called "Boats Sail on the Rivers," and "April
Rain," by Robert Loveman. Which of these poems do
you like best? Can you find a poem you like much
better? Try to write a rhyme about one of the helpers
we have talked about in this lesson.
5. Find a beautiful Bible poem about clouds, wind,
or the sky. There is one in Job, and more than one in
the book of Psalms.
To learn: Psalm 148. 7-10; or Job 37. 9-11.
To read: "Who Has Seen the Wind," a poem by C. G.
Rosetti; or "I Saw You Toss the Kite on High," by
R. L. Stevenson.
NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY
"THE very best part of our camping trip," said
Ruth, as she pasted the last photograph in the
"Good Times Book," "was sleeping on the desert.
The air was so balmy, and the stars were so clear.
They looked almost near enough to touch. Why
did they seem so near, father?"
"I suspect," answered father, "that it was be-
cause we were far from the city dust and smoke,
and there was less to shut the stars away from our
"The shooting stars were great," added Don.
"I felt as if I were looking at some exhibition of
fireworks. I am sorry I did not count them, but
I never saw so many in all my life before as I did
that one night."
"Jupiter was the biggest star in the sky," said
Ruth. "Wasn't he bright that evening?"
"Father," said Don, teasingly, "won't you please
explain to Ruth that Jupiter is a planet and not
"I ought to explain to you, Don," replied father
with a twinkle, "that there are no shooting stars."
"Why, father!" exclaimed Don. "You saw them
yourself, and talked about them too."
"I saw," replied father, "what people commonly
refer to as 'shooting stars,' but they are not really
stars at all. Astronomers call them meteors, which
just means masses of stone, iron, or other metals.
284 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Such a mass enters our atmosphere, breaking every
speed law that man has thought of. It travels,
not twenty or thirty miles an hour, but twenty
or thirty miles a second. Naturally this terrific
speed makes a great friction as soon as the mass
enters our atmosphere. The friction raises the
meteor to white heat, when it is still seventy or
eighty miles away from the earth, and we see the
glow. Quite often the mass has been changed to
a hot vapor before it reaches the surface of the
"Then how do we know it is made of iron or
some metal, if none of them ever reach the earth?"
"I said 'quite often,' " replied father. "Though
meteors seldom fall, wise men have many ways of
finding out about these strange visitors, even if
they turn to gas. But large meteors have fallen
from time to time, and have taught us many things.
The little stone in mother's bracelet is said by the
Indians to have fallen in such a meteor. That is
why it is called peridot; peri means 'from heaven,'
and dot means 'a gift.' The Indians think the
stone is a gift from above."
"Do the Indians have stories about falling
meteors?" asked Don.
"A great many," replied father. "In one of our
Western States there is a huge sandy hollow, about
which the Indians tell many stories. They say
that long ago a great fiery mass fell from heaven
on that spot, with loud noises; they believe the
mass is buried in .the earth. The wise men think
that a huge meteor may have fallen there long
ago; they suppose that the force and speed with
NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY 285
which it was traveling may have sent it deep into
the earth, and that this may have turned the rocks
and earth around the place where it struck into
sand. They have tried to dig down and find out
what lies below the fine sand, but so far all that
they learned with certainty is that a mass of rock
is down at some depth, a rock so hard that any tool
they have yet been able to make is very quickly
dulled in the drilling process."
"And has no one ever found a true meteor?"
"Yes, indeed!" replied father. "They have been
found in many parts of the world, and in varying
sizes. They are often surprisingly heavy. A
scientist friend of mine has one that would easily
be covered by mother's laundry basket. You would
think that you could easily move it, Don, if you
saw it lying in his laboratory, and you would wonder
why the table on which it rests is built so strongly.
But if you were to try to rock it ever so little, you
would find that all of your strength is not great
enough to stir it."
"Tell us about comets, father," asked Ruth.
"Are they like meteors?"
"The head of a comet," replied father, "is prob-
ably a company of meteors that have come near
enough to the sun to feel its pull. As this crowd
gets nearer and nearer to the sun, it travels faster,
and throws off a vapor-like matter that we call
the tail. Sometimes this becomes very long; the
comet of 1843 had a tail two hundred million miles
"Oh my!" gasped Ruth. "I should think the
earth might get hit by such a long tail as that!"
286 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"It has been hit more than once," laughed father.
"Twice in the nineteenth century the earth passed
through the tail of a comet, and came out not a
whit the worse for the experience. We do not
know surely, but it is thought the light of the tail
may be electrical."
"Will that comet ever come in sight again?"
asked Don. "I'd like to see it."
"Some comets," replied father, "make their bow
to us quite regularly; others come back at very
long intervals, while still others are so uncertain
in their movements that no one can feel very sure
when they will show in the sky, if they ever do."
"Do comets always mean war and trouble?"
asked Ruth anxiously.
"No, indeed!" laughed father. "Such a belief
is absurd, now that we know the nature of comets.
You can understand how people, in the days before
telescopes, and other fine instruments for study-
ing our skyland neighbors had been invented, must
have been startled by seeing such strange and
brilliant visitors in the sky. It is no wonder they
invented all sorts of fanciful explanations."
"Now, father," urged Don, "do tell us about
planets and stars."
"To be sure I will!" cried father. "We must set
Miss Ruth right on that point this minute!" and
he smiled at his little daughter. "We do speak of
Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, as 'the evening star'
or 'the morning star'; but, as Don suggests, we are
not quite correct in doing so. The four 'stars' that
I named, together with Mercury, Uranus, Neptune,
and the earth, are much more properly called
planets. They do not shine with their own light,
NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY 287
but merely with the light reflected from the
'Are there just eight planets?" queried Don.
"No," replied father. "The eight that I named
are sometimes called the major which means the
greater or more important planets. There are
minor, or less important, planets, which are very
much smaller. Some of them have been discovered
recently, and are invisible to the naked eye. We
need not think much about them just now."
"Why is it that planets do not shine with their
own light?" asked Ruth, who had been thinking
''Wise men think that innumerable small bodies
circling around the sun united to form small planets,
and in course of time some of these grew and grew
larger by additional material gathered up in their paths.
All of them move about the sun in nearly circular
paths, and are kept there by gravitation, the same
force that makes your ball or an apple fall. They
are opaque bodies, and so cannot shine, except as
they reflect the light thrown upon them. They
differ, too, from the fixed stars, which seem to
move either very little or not at all.
"In reab'ty the so-called fixed stars travel with very
great velocity and probably in straight lines. The
stars are really suns many times larger than our sun,
millions of miles from the earth, and from one another,
and give us light on account of being changed into
burning gases. The planets seem to wander among
the stars; the word 'planet' means a 'wanderer.' "
"What do people mean by the solar system?"
"The sun with its eight planets, and their moons,
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
the comets, and the meteors that sometimes come
near, make up the solar system," replied father.
"No stars in the solar system?" exclaimed Don;
"No stars in the. solar system," affirmed father.
How a Planet and a Star Look
in a Telescope.
Diameter of .Sun, 864,000 miles
Diameter of Earth, 8,000 miles
It would take over ons hundred earths laid side by side to stretch across the
diameter of the sun.
THE EIGHT PLANETS COMPARED IN SIZE
"All the stars lie outside of this and are enormously
farther away from us than the most distant member
of our own group. An astronomer has said, 'to travel
as fast as a ray of light which rushes through space at
NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY 289
the fate of eleven million miles a minute, it would take
about eight minutes to reach the sun, but to reach
Sirius, the dog star, a bright star, and one of the
nearest to the earth, it would take over eight years.
And when we got there we could not land because it
is thirty- three times brighter than the sun.' "
"Nor is that all. Some stars are so far away that
we do not try to tell their distance in miles. We
say they are. so many 'light-years' away; that is,
we mean that it requires years for their light to
"Doesn't it make us feel little?" asked Ruth.
"It certainly does!" agreed father. "That is
just what the psalmist was thinking when he wrote:
'When I consider . . . the work of thy fingers,
The moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?' "
"Do you suppose people are living on any of the
stars or planets?" asked Ruth.
"Astronomers agree," replied father, "that the
stars are so very hot that life cannot exist on them.
As to the planets there may be a different answer.
Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune are the most
distant and are probably too hot for life. Mer-
cury is so near the sun it is hard for us to be sure
just what does happen there, but it is thought
that the same side is always turned toward the
sun. This must mean that the bright side is always
very hot, while the dark side must be colder than
we can imagine. We cannot be sure about Venus,
either, as the surface is so bright it is difficult to
find any marking that shows if the same side is
290 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
turned to the sun always or not. Jupiter is sup-
posed to be red-hot. Saturn is believed to be a
mass of vapors and gases, whirling around at a
most astonishing speed. It has ten moons, and a
great belt of meteorites miles deep and many hun-
dred miles wide. It is a safe guess that there is
no life there."
"That leaves Mars as the only chance," said
Don, checking off on his fingers. "Is there life
"Again we cannot be certain," replied father.
"It is thought that Mars cooled long before the
earth, and that it has water and air. There _ can
be seen on its surface a curious pattern of straight
lines which many astronomers have thought to be
canals made by inhabitants of Mars to carry 'water
over the surface. Other wise men think any life
on Mars is quite impossible."
"I should think, with all the fine telescopes we
have to-day, someone would be able to settle the
question," said Don.
"You must remember," said father, "that Mars
never comes nearer than thirty-four million miles,
and then only once in every fifteen or seventeen
years. The best photographs that can be taken
are very small, and so students must rely on the
human eye, and it is very easy to disagree as to
just what these eyes see."
"Where did the stars get their names?" asked Ruth.
"The Romans and the Greeks gave many of the
names by which we know the stars," answered
father. "Mars was named after the Roman war
god. But long before ever Rome or Greece was
known, the Arabs, the Chaldeans, and many others
NEIGHBORS IN THE SKY 291
knew the stars quite well. They traced out imag-
inary figures in the heavens, from star to star, and
told their tales and myths about them. You will
like to look up some of these old tales, and then
to find the stars in the sky and to know them by
name. - Best of all, you will like to study the stars
from the Bible, and to learn the splendid verses
that tell of them. The starry host was well known
to the writers of the Bible, and they were always
calling the thoughts of the people to the splendor
and the power of God as it was shown through the
works of his hands in the heavens."
"I know a fine verse to start off with," cried Ruth.
" 'The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament showeth his handiwork/ "
"I have another too," added Don. "It is in Job,
and this is the way it goes:
" 'Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades
Or loose the bands of Orion?' "
"That's a fine one!" agreed Ruth. "Let us try
to see how many verses we can find, and put them
in a Bible star book."
"A good idea!" said father, heartily. " 'The
heavens shall declare his righteousness,' the Bible
tells us, and I know of no more wonderful way of
studying the glory of God than through his great
lights, the sun, to rule by day, and the moon and
stars, to rule by night."
Something to do:
i. Get a map of the sky for the season of the year at
which you are studying this book. From this learn the
names of the morning or the evening stars, and the
2 9 2 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
brightest constellation. The first clear night, go out
of doors after darkness has come and find these stars in
2. If it is possible for you to do so, arrange for a visit
to an observatory, to look at the stars through a telescope.
3. Divide your class into groups, and let each group
choose a constellation for their special study. Learn
the story of its name. See if you can find a mention of
the constellation in the Bible. Commit to memory
these verses, or other verses about the stars. Plan a
Star Night for your grown-up friends, to whom you
will tell the star stories, repeat your star verses, and
point out the stars in the sky.
To learn: Psalm 104. 19; or Psalm 19. 1-6.
To read: "Daisies," by Frank D. Sherman.
Praise ye Jehovah.
Praise ye Jehovah from the heavens;
Praise him in the heights.
Praise ye him, all his angels:
Praise ye him, all his host.
Praise ye him, sun and moon ;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens,
And ye waters that are above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of Jehovah;
For he commanded, and they were created.
Psalm 148. 1-5.
A STORY OF THE ROCKS
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest?
Or who stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened,
Or who laid the cornerstone thereof?
"WHO would like to ride with me to Blue Ledge?"
asked grandfather one bright June morning, as he
came upon Don and Ruth busy at work helping
"Oh, I would, I would," they cried at once.
"I am going out in the farm wagon to bring a
load of gravel to spread on the garden walks, and
you may come with me," smiled grandfather.
"Get the small shovels and a trowel from the tool
house, Don, and we will get a sack or two of mold
from Woody Knoll on the way back. You will
be glad to have some for your new flower beds, I
know," he said, turning to grandmother.
"Indeed I will!" agreed grandmother. "And
won't you bring a big box of sand from the cove
for my rose cuttings, too?"
"Nothing easier!" said grandfather, tossing a
stout box into the wagon. "Ruth, you will find
a tin bucket handy to use in helping us fill this!"
In a very short time grandfather, Don, and Ruth,
with tools safely stowed in the back of the wagon,
294 OUR WONDERFUL -WORLD
waved a good-by to mother and grandmother and
drove gayly out of the yard. Once they were well
on their way, Don turned to grandfather, saying:
"Grandfather, Ruth and I have been wondering
about ever so many things this morning, and we
have a hundred questions we would like to ask you."
"As many as that?" asked grandfather, pretend-
ing to be much troubled.
"Perhaps not quite a hundred," grinned Don,
"but certainly a great many."
"Let us have them, one at a time," said grand-
father, "and we will try to find the answers."
"You know," began Don, "that Ruth and I
spent ever so long gathering nice, round pebbles
to make into borders for grandmother's flower beds.
We want to know why they are so round and
smooth. They look as if they had been polished."
"They have," said grandfather, quietly.
"Why, grandfather!" cried Ruth in surprise.
"We picked them every one along the side of the
creek just two or three days ago! When could
they have been polished?"
Don, catching the twinkle in grandfather's eye,
shook his head. "Grandfather does not mean just
what you think, Ruth," he said, "but I do not
understand what he does mean."
"Let me ask you a question or two," returned
grandfather. "Did you ever go up the creek,
beyond the place where you gathered your pebbles?"
"Oh, yes," said Don. "We went a long way up
in_the spring when we were trout fishing with father."
"Are the pebbles on the upper banks just like
those that you picked up?"
"There are few pebbles along the upper banks,"
A STORY OF THE ROCKS 295
said Don, slowly, as he tried to recall just what
the stream looked like. "The farther up, we went
the bigger the rocks were."
"What is the difference between a rock and a
pebble?" asked Ruth. "Isn't a pebble just a little
piece of rock?"
"Oh, grandfather, I believe I can answer that
myself!" cried Don. "A pebble is a little rock, and
a bowlder is a big rock; is that right?"
"Quite right!" agreed grandfather.
"How big is a bowlder?" asked Ruth.
"About as big as a well, about as big as one
of those nice little melons we had for breakfast, I
should say," ventured Don.
"Ho, ho, ho!" laughed grandfather. "That is
a very good way to remember! And what will
you say about pebbles? When does a bit of rock
get too small to be a pebble?"
"If it is smaller than a pebble, it would be why,
it would be a grain of sand," said Don, after a
minute's thought. "Some sand is pretty coarse,
grandfather! How would it do to say that pebbles
are not bigger than the peas Ruth shelled for
"Peas and melons pebbles and bowlders!" cried
Ruth. "I can remember that!"
"Yes, indeed!" said grandfather. "Sometimes we
call small bowlders, those that can be lifted with
one hand, cobbles, or cobblestones, but you will
get on very well in your talk of rocks if you recall
pebbles and bowlders/ Let me ask you another
question: Why are the bowlders on the upper parts
of the creek and the pebbles on the lower? Wait
a minute, and I will ask you still another question.
296 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Why is there only sand in this cove, with the peb-
bles all a half-mile higher up? Why is the meadow
a mile below fine soil, much finer even than this
"No fair, grandfather; no fair!" cried Don.
"You told us, 'one question at a time,' and you
have asked two or three!"
"So I did!" laughed grandfather. "But I think
I will not take any of them back, for one fact pretty
nearly answers all of them. Before we get out to
fill our box with the sand look up and down the
creek; see how the water runs; think hard about
it, and I am sure you will be able to study out for
yourself the reason for the sizes of pebbles you
find in the different places," And grandfather
climbed down from his seat and began to pile up
the sand with his big shovel while Don and Ruth
filled their pails time after time and emptied them
in the box, till it was quite full. As they took their
seats to drive on again Don asked, "Grandfather,
are there more pebbles down below because the
pebbles are smaller, and the water can carry them
"Exactly!" agreed grandfather.
"And the sand 'is lower down the stream because
it is lighter than the pebbles!" added Don.
"But the mud is lighter than the sand," said
Ruth, "so it is carried still farther!"
"The creek is wider here in the cove, and the
water runs slowly. Has that anything to do with
the dropping of the sand at this place?" asked Don.
"Indeed it has," said grandfather. "The nar-
rower a channel is, the faster will the water run.
The faster the water runs, the more it can carry.
A STORY OF THE ROCKS 297
If we were to confine the water of the creek at
the cove into a smaller space, it not only would
not leave that nice bed of white sand for our use
but it would carry down ma-ny of the pebbles that
it dropped before it came around the bend. But
here we are at Blue Ledge."
"What a queer-looking rock!" cried Don, leap-
ing to the ground, and laying his -hand on a great
blue-gray mass that towered many feet above the
roadway. "Why, Ruth, look! It is all in layers;
you can pick bits of it off."
"It looks like our blackboard at school," said
Ruth, as she fingered some of the thin flat bits,
with their sharp edges and corners.
"It is much the same as your blackboard," agreed
grandfather. "It is slate, of a common sort. One
of its oddities, but one which makes it very useful,
is that it can be cut in thin flat sheets, and made
"Oh, that is why people use it for roofing and
for blackboards," cried Don.
"But I shouldn't think it was good at all for
walks!" declared Ruth, looking down at the mass
of sharp-edged little pebbles on which she was
"Why not, Ruth?" queried grandfather, smilingly.
"Look at all these sharp edges!" exclaimed the r j
little girl. "They won't hurt my strong play-shoes, '
but just think of mother's walking on them with
her kid slippers, or grandmother's going down the
walk in her pretty black satin pumps! They will
"Do you remember how the gravel on the walk
looks?" asked grandfather.
298 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"Those pebbles," asserted Ruth, "are not like
these at all; they are all rounded on the edges;
they can't cut shoes."
"Perhaps they have been polished," twinkled
"They have," answered grandfather, "and in
much the same way that your bigger pebbles were
polished." Then, as he saw the puzzled look on
Don's face, he added:
"It is quite a riddle, isn't it? Come and I will
show you how it is done." And following a winding
road, grandfather led the way around the ledge
and down to its very foot, where a lovely little
lake continually washed the mass of gravel that
had fallen from the rock. Don stooped to run his
hand through the gravel.
"Why, these pebbles are smooth, as smooth as
if polished!" he cried. "I see," he added, quickly.
"Ruth, the water moves them back and forth on
each other, and all the rough edges are smoothed
"Right!" agreed grandfather, beginning to fill
the sacks with the smooth pebbles. "The rough
gravel at the top of the cliff may some day be as
smooth as this is now. You can imagine how it
has been made water ran into the cracks of the
rock, and froze in the cold of the winter-time. The
ice and frost cracked off bits of rock. This goes on
in every cold season. By and by the mass of gravel
gets so heavy that it slides down. Heavy rains
help to wash it into the lake. The waves, playing
back and forth on it, polish the pebbles by push-
ing them on each other. Even on a quiet day like
this there is some wave action, but at times when
A STORY OF THE ROCKS 299
the winds are high the waves are much stronger,
and the polishing goes on pretty fast."
"The creek pebbles are polished in the same
way, then," said Ruth, "only they rolled against
each other and the big bowlders too, as they moved
down -the stream."
"The bowlders are being made into pebbles, the
pebbles are being made into sand," said Ruth,
"is the sand being made into anything else?"
"Why, of course," Don almost shouted, as the
truth suddenly flashed on his mind. "The sand
is being made into clay and mud and silt. Is all
soil made of rock, grandfather?"
"Think a minute and answer your own question,"
was grandfather's reply.
"The Indians taught the Pilgrim Fathers to put
a fish in each hillof corn for fertilizer," said Ruth.
"Haven't animals helped a great deal in making soil,
"Indeed they have," said grandfather. "Our
soils would lack much of their richness if they had
not been helped by animal life. There is another
important contribution to soil making that I will
show you when we get to Woody Knoll."
"Oh, 'humus!' " cried Don. "That was another
question I was going to ask!"
A short distance from Blue Ledge was a rough
rocky knoll or low hill, covered thickly with trees.
Grandfather thrust his shovel into the soft earth,
cutting away a section to show the layers of which
it was made. Don flung himself down to look closely.
"Dead, dry leaves from last summer on top,"
he said. "Then there are leaves almost all decayed;
300 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
next, fine black soil. Below that, the soil is partly
black and partly sandy."
"The decayed vegetable matter is the humus,"
explained grandfather. "Where you find the mix-
ture, the humus has been carried down into the
fine sand. What comes below the sand?"
"The sand gets coarser and coarser till it is
almost gravel," replied Don.
"That is the subsoil," said grandfather, "and
if we went down deep enough, we would by and by
come to rock of one kind or another, according to
the locality in which we might be digging."
"How were the rocks made in the first place,
grandfather?" asked Don.
"That is a question that men asked a great many
years, and they looked for the answer a long time.
Hard study and hard thinking have made it plain,
but it will take you a long time to understand all
about it. One way in which rocks were made was
through the action of water. You may call such
rocks water rocks. Other kinds of rock were the
result pf great heat; they are called fire rocks.
Both water and fire rocks have often been acted
upon by pressure, or heat, or wearing away and
building up by water, and, quite properly, they are
called by a name that means changed rocks."
"Did it take a very long time?" asked Ruth,
"Yes, a very long time," replied grandfather.
"Someone has said it takes a million years to make
a grain of sand. Some people suppose that the
earth was much longer in taking form. We cannot
be sure, nor does it make much difference. You
know the Bible says, 'a thousand years in God's
A STORY OF THE ROCKS 301
sight are but as yesterday when it is past.' The
important thing for us to remember is that the
building up and the wearing down of the rocks,
the slow making of the soil, are all the work of God's
hands. It is a part of the orderly working out of
his great plan."
Something to do:
1. Explain what part animals, trees and plants, and
running rivers have had in making the earth.
2. Climb a hill with your teacher or some grown-up
friend, and ask him to explain to you how the hill came
to be there.
3. Make a collection of river-polished pebbles.
4. Make a collection of small pebbles, sand, and silt
or clay. Put a small amount of each in a glass, and
cover with water. Stir the contents of each glass thor-
oughly. Note in which of the glasses the water "settles"
or clears most quickly. Why is this so?
5. Try to find a place where a cellar is being made,
or a hill is being cut down to make a road. Look at the
soil, and see how many varieties you can find.
6. Watch a streamlet after a rainstorm, and see how
many things you can prove for yourself about the carry-
ing and carving power of running water. Is it the water
that does the cutting? Is the cutting done by the sand,
pebbles, or other material that the water carries? Can
you prove this?
7. Read Psalm 147. 5. Does this seem to you a fine
verse to sum up the wonders of earth-making by God's
To learn: Psalm 104. 1-9; or Isaiah 40. 12.
To read: "The Wonderful World," by William Brighty
WATER AND ICE
He sendeth out his commandment upon earth;
His word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool:
He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels:
Who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them.
He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters to flow.
Psalm 147. 15-18.
"GRANDFATHER," said Don one day, "how did
that .great rock ever come to the middle of your
big meadow? There is not another rock of any
size in sight within several miles."
"It was brought there by the ice," answered
"By the ice!" gasped Don, in amazement.
"Many, many years ago," replied grandfather,
"more than half of the north temperate zone was
covered with a great mass of ice. This ice, moving
down slowly, carried with it great bowlders, which
were dropped here and there as the ice melted.
The big rock in the meadow is almost surely one
"Where did the ice come from, grandfather?"
"From the vast quantities of snow that fell,"
'I thought you said it was ice," objected Ruth.
'The glaciers were formed of ice that came from
WATER AND ICE 303
the snow," responded grandfather. "Do you remem-
ber what happened to your snowballs last winter,
when you kept packing and pressing them in your
"Oh, yes," said Ruth. "They grew hard and
almost as solid as ice."
"Almost the same thing happened in these old
glaciers," went on grandfather, "as men can tell
by studying glaciers to be seen to-day. The snow
on top is light and fluffy, and in separate flakes.
As the amount of snow increases, its weight presses
on that below and begins to pack it. Then the
snow is grainy, like sand. As the weight of snow
above grows greater, the grainy kind turns to ice,
clean, clear blue ice. You can see that bowlders,
rocks of smaller size, sand and earth that fall from
cliffs and ledges on the ice, will be carried along
with it until the ice melts and drops its load. That
is how our big rock came to be planted in what is
now our meadow."
"But, grandfather, what happened that the ice
melted? Or what happened before that, that the
glaciers were made? We do not have them now,"
"That is quite true," agreed grandfather, "and
many people have puzzled over the fact and tried
to account for it, though no very satisfactory
explanation has ever been given. It is probable
that ages ago the climate was different over this
region. However that may be, there is little doubt
that the glaciers did their work; we can see many
sure traces to prove that this is so."
"What was their work?" asked Ruth with much
OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"The answer is a very long one," said grand-
father. "To put it in the shortest possible form,
it was to make the earth ready for God's creatures
to live on it. It was to make the earth richer and
lovelier. The glaciers smoothed down mountains.
HALF DOME, YOSEMITE VALLEY
The Glaciers Plowed Out' This Valley and Polished Its Sides.
They built up hills. They carved out lakes. By
rearranging drainage they forced rivers to seek new
channels. Often these channels ran over rock
ledges that had been buried under the masses of
earth carried by the glacier. When the river cut
down through this to the rock, the rock wore away
more slowly, and so falls and rapids were made,
WATER AND ICE 305
and man was supplied with the water power for
"What happened to all the people living when
the glaciers came?" asked Ruth, anxiously.
"Undoubtedly there were fewer people on the
earth in those days than there are now," replied
grandfather, "but we know man was living then,
for his stone tools have been found in the glacial
gravels. The corning of the glacial age was prob-
ably slow, and no doubt man retreated from it,
and went to the south where he found a warmer
place to live. Animals probably did the same.
Plants would tend to push to warmer climates also,
but more slowly than animals that could move
as they wished. When the ice began to melt,
plants that love the cold would have to follow it,
or begin to grow up the sides of mountains. There
is little question that the explanation for some of
the big puzzles in plant and animal life is found
in just this fact."
"Glaciers are makers of icebergs too, are they
not, grandfather?" asked Don.
"Yes, whenever they extend to the ocean," replied
grandfather. "In Greenland and in Alaska, for
example, the weight of the snow pressing forward,
and the natural slide of the glacier down the slopes
press it out over the sea. Here, by the action of
the waves dashing against it, and partly, too, by
its own weight, great masses of ice are broken off
from time to time, and go floating away like a huge
palace or mountain of ice. It was an iceberg so
formed on the Greenland coast that sunk the great
Titanic a few years ago."
"What happens to the bergs finally?" asked Ruth.
306 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"They float along on the ocean currents till they
are carried into warmer regions and melt and dis-
appear," said Don. "What happens to the melting
ice when the glacier is not on the seashore, grand-
father? Does it form a river?"
"Yes," replied grandfather, "and there is one
odd thing about such streams that is so marked
you never forget it, once you have seen it that
is the color, which is a curious milky shade. Can
you guess what makes it?"
"It must be something that the stream carries
with it," suggested Don.
"Yes," agreed grandfather, "it is the sediment,
which is made up of fine particles of fresh rock
that has never been weathered. These rocks are
generally white in color, and so the particles make
the river look milky. It is one of the most striking
things about the streams in the Canadian Rockies,
which you will see for yourself some day, I hope."
"Glaciers are mills that grind up earth-flour,"
said Ruth, "and the rivers carry the flour down
from the mountains and put it where it can be used."
Grandfather smiled at the little girl's fancy.
"That is one way of telling the work of the glaciers,"
he said. "It has been going on for more years
than we can count. The rivers carry not only the
sediment given them by the ice, but much that
they pick up along the way, from the banks through
which they flow and the soil carried into them by
smaller streams. Tell me what becomes of all
this fine sediment, Don."
"It must be dropped by the river somewhere,"
said Don, thoughtfully. "But I am sure this won't
happen until the river begins to run quite slowly,
WATER AND ICE 307
and that will be why, that must be away down
toward its lower end, just before it runs into the
sea, in most cases."
"That is true," agreed grandfather, "and I am
sure you will think it very curious when I tell you
that some rivers have built up their beds so high
at or near their mouths that the river is really
higher than the level ground about it!"
"Oh, I should think it would run over and flood
the land!" cried Ruth.
"It does sometimes," agreed grandfather, "and
it would do so much oftener if men had not built
artificial banks to keep the river in place. There
are parts of the Mississippi River that are so much
higher than the country around that if you are
to take a steamer for a trip you do not go down to
the river, but you climb up to it!"
"I saw a picture of that just the other day,"
cried Don, "but I thought it was a made-up pic-
ture, like the ones of the big fruit or the huge fish
that are made for jokes!"
"No, indeed!" said grandfather. "Rivers are
strange and powerful forces, and one cannot tell
at once all the queer facts about them. Do you
know that rivers sometimes get lost, and that
some rivers are really upside down?"
"Oh, grandfather, what do you mean?" asked Ruth.
"There are rivers in the dry regions of our coun-
try that start out from the mountains as does any
ordinary river, but when they get down into the
sandy places, they just disappear; they are really
lost as far as you and I can tell. The water has
run down through the sand, and it probably finds
its way to underground reservoirs,"
308 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
"And the upside-down rivers, grandfather?"
"Where is the sandy bed of a river with rela-
tion to the water?" asked grandfather, with a
"Why, under the water, of course!" cried Ruth.
"And what would happen to you if you fell into
the river?" asked grandfather.
"Why, I'd get wet!" laughed Ruth.
"Then if I should take you to a river whose
sandy bed is over the water instead of under it,
and show you that you would not get wet, but
hurt, if you fell in, you would think, it fair to call
that an upside-down river, wouldn't you?"
"Yes," agreed Ruth, "but are there any such
"Indeed, there are, in some parts of our own
country," asserted grandfather. "If you go to
get water from such a river, you take a shovel,
and dig a hole in the sand. After a time, the water
creeps up into the hole, but you will never find it
unless you dig for it!"
"I think I like our own shining right-side-up
rivers best," said Ruth.
"Grandfather, I have been thinking of those lost
rivers," said Don. "Do they never get found again?"
"Sometimes, yes," answered grandfather. "Such
streams may run underground for a long distance,
till they strike a layer of rock through which they
cannot pass. Such a layer may be tilted up till it
comes to the surface of the earth in places, and the
water may follow the tilt and come pouring out."
"Oh, then we'd have a spring!" cried Don. "I
never thought of that!"
WATER AND ICE 309
"Yes, and suppose the rock that the water fol-
lowed happened to be heated rock?" asked grand-
"The spring would be a hot spring," said Don.
"Quite right," agreed grandfather, "and if it
chanced that the rocks were hot enough to make
the water boil, and that the opening was small
enough to give some pressure, the spring might
throw out its contents with much force, and we
would have a geyser, such as is common in Yellow-
stone Park. You remember you have a number
of pictures of these geysers that Uncle Will sent
"I mean to see the geysers some day," declared
Don, "and the Grand Canyon, too. Is that really
the work of water, grandfather?"
"So the wise men tell us," replied grandfather.
"For thousands of years, the river has been work-
ing away at cutting down the rocky walls, till its
channel is now a mile or more below the surface.
You see what can be done by keeping always at it!"
"What a long time it has taken to make our
earth, and how many tools have been used in do-
ing it!" said Don. "Glaciers and rocks, water, ice,
snow, frost, all have helped, haven't they?"
"Yes, God has used them all," replied grand-
father. "His plans are wonderful, and we, as we
find them out bit by bit, feel as did Job, when he
said: 'Behold God is great, and we know him not.
The number of his years is unsearchable.' "
Something to do:
i. Find a copy of the National Geographic Magazine
for June, 1926, and read the story of the icebergs.
3io OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
2. Copy a map of the United States and Canada, and
mark the parts that are thought to have been once cov-
ered by ice. Ask your teacher to tell you how the rivers
emptied into the ocean before the Ice Age, and trace
those ways with a red crayon. How did the coming and
going of the Ice Age change the rivers?
3 . Find a stream that has carried away the earth from
the sides of its channel. If possible, follow the stream
till you come to the place where this material was de-
posited. Is it in a pool or shallow place? Take a shovel
and cut down through the deposits as far as you can,
and write carefully in your notebook just what you see.
4. If you are a city child, it may be difficult for you
to carry out Number 3. In that case, try to pile up a
heap of sand in a shallow box in the schoolroom or on
some concrete floor. Provide some way of caring for
the water, so that it will run off without harming any-
thing, and then sprinkle gently and plentifully your
sand. You may learn some very interesting lessons as
to how water carves hills and carries earth materials
by doing this!
To learn: Job 36. 26.
COUNTING UP: A REVIEW
The earth is Jehovah's and the fullness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalm 24. i.
FOR many weeks now we have been thinking
and studying about the great Wonder-world in
which God has put us. This last lesson will be a
good time for us to count up some of the things
we have learned.
You know we have talked of the creatures of
God's world as neighbors. What does that mean?
If you will go to the dictionary, you will find out
that "neighbor" once meant "near-dweller," the
people who live not far from you. Do you think
it means more than that now? How did the word
come to have a fuller meaning than just the place
where people live? If you think a moment, you
will remember what Jesus said about neighbors
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." What
a truly happy and wonderful world it will be when
all of us learn to do that!
Of course when Jesus told us to love our neigh-
bors as we love ourselves he was talking about
men and women neighbors, and boy and girl neigh-
bors. But I am sure that he meant more than
that too. Jesus loved the flowers, and spoke of
the lilies and the grass. He talked of the foxes
and the birds. He said that not even a little sparrow
fell to the ground that God did not know of it.
3 i2 OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Are you not very sure that Jesus wishes you to
treat with kindness all of God's creatures? Do
you not feel very certain that it is a part of God's
will for you to know all that you can about the
strange and interesting creatures he has made as
helpers in preparing and keeping the earth as a
beautiful home for everyone?
Let us begin our counting up by naming some
of the creatures that we often forget, and by tell-
ing what they do for us that they should be called
What facts about "back-yard neighbors" did you
learn for the first time in this class? What new
facts have you learned since you read those chap-
ters in the first section? Which of these neigh-
bors (do you think is the most helpful? Which is
the most interesting? Which do you know best?
Which Bible verses about these neighbors do you
like best? Why?
How many feathered friends have you made
since you began to study these lessons? What is
the most interesting story you have about one of
them? How many pictures can you show of their
work as good neighbors? Repeat all the Bible
verses about birds that you know.
Tell the story of your garden. What was the
first neighbor you met there this season? Perhaps
your garden was only as big as a single tin can.
Perhaps it was even smaller. I once had a lovely
garden planted in six half-egg shells, and it was
great fun to care for it, and to watch it grow. If
you have had such a garden, perhaps you mean
now to introduce some sick child, or some lonely
shut-in to your neighbors, and help to know a
COUNTING UP: A REVIEW 313
flower or a plant as a friend! See if this is not just
the very best of fun!
Of all your four-footed friends, which one do
you think is the strongest? the most interesting?
the most useful? How many new four-footed
friends have you made this year? Write a story
about one of them.
Have you tried to draw pictures of some of the
skyland helpers? It is great fun to make a "cloud
census." You must watch the clouds every day,
and then with chalk laid on the side, or with a
soft pencil on paper, try to copy some of the shapes,
and then name them. You will soon have a rare
and valuable collection of cloud friends. Perhaps
you may like better to try coloring the pictures with
water colors; and if you do not satisfy yourself the
first time, or the second time, or the third time you
try, then recall the old verse, and "try, try again!"
Now, we have said a good deal about what our
neighbors do for us. What can we do in return
for our neighbors? We surely will never be quite
happy to be takers always and givers never! Of
course it is absurd to think we can make returns
to some of our neighbors, such as the clouds, for
example; but we can do better, we can make returns
of thanks and praise and loving wonder to the
Father who gave us these helpers. We can let
every sight of them take our thoughts to him.
We can look sharply for ways in which each of
us may make the world a little more beautiful, a
little more comfortable, for others. What can
you do, just where you live, and with just what
you have, to show that you are as good a neighbor
to others as you have found others are to you?
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